Water shortage hits Srinagar due to delay in restoration of canal

Suhail Bhat
SRINAGAR, Aug 22: Several areas of Srinagar are facing severe shortage of water supply for the last seven months as the authorities have failed to fix a breach in the main canal that feeds water to these areas.
The breach appeared in the Sind extension at Malshahibagh canal from sloughing in December last year and affected the 6.8 MGD Alasteng water treatment plant, which feeds water to several areas in the North of Srinagar and several parts of Ganderbal district. The breach was supposed to get fixed in two months, but the restoration work remained incomplete even after the passage of seven months. The department also missed the Aug 15 deadline.
As a result, the water supply of over two lakh people got affected as the canal supplies water to three primary treatment plants – Rangel, Shuhama, and Alasteng. The canal caters to the irrigation demands of agricultural land from Rangil to Dara.
The areas facing water shortage include Elahi Bagh, Gulab Bagh, Soura, Anchar, Nowshera, Lal Bazar, Alasteng, Shuhama, Habak, Zukra, Batpora, Hazratbal, Kashmir University, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Saderbal, Saida Kadal and some areas of old Srinagar.
Ghulam Mohammad, a 50-year-old resident of Zoonimar, said for the last six months they are not getting normal water supply. He said that they have been raising the issues with the concerned department, but nothing has happened so far, “the water supply we get does not cater to our demands. Nobody is listening to us. In times of COVID 19 they force us to deal with this water crisis,” he said.
Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Iftikar Ahmad Kakroo, said the restoration work got delayed because of the pandemic. “Some of our workers tested positive and that slowed the disposing of,” he said, adding that they also had to readjust a full electric wire which further delayed the process.
He said they have placed parallel water pipes to bypass the breach part. “We have done it to ensure water to the reservoir. It has mitigated the crisis to a great level”, he said. He added that Jal Shakti department has made alternate arrangements to provide water supply to the affected areas.
About the restoration of irrigation facilities, he said, “we are yet to restore the irrigations facilities and it may take us some time.”
The residents, however, said the measures adopted by the administration to mitigate the problems do not cater to the daily water needs of people. “It take an eternity to fill our water tanks with the amount of water we receive through our taps. The water crisis has added to our woes in these trying times,” Abid Ahmad, a resident of Kawdara, said.

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