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Water every three days - Kalimpong supply hit, sources infected with bacteria

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By RAJEEV RAVIDAS
  • Published 23.03.12
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Kalimpong, March 22: The residents of town are getting drinking water supply every third day for the past one week with the administration announcing today that water in some sources was unsafe for consumption.

The public health engineering (water works) department of the DGHC that distributes drinking water to the town has been forced to regulate the supply as the streams are drying up because of inadequate winter rain.

Earlier, the PHE used to distribute water every alternate day.

“The three main sources at Neora Khola, Relli and Thukchuk have dried up. Earlier, Deolo reservoir, fed by these streams, always had about 8 lakh gallons of water. But for the past 15-20 days it has come down to 3.5 lakh gallons to 5 lakh gallons,” said Rajen Pradhan, the superintendent of the water works department. The town gets its water supply from Deolo reservoir.

Kalimpong requires around 7-8 lakh gallons of water every day.

Pradhan added that if there is no rain soon, the problem of water scarcity could get more acute.

“In the previous years, the sources used to dry up in April. However, such a scenario has unfolded a month in advance this time. If there is no rain, we could be in for a lot of trouble,” he said.

Pradhan added that the residents of the town should use water sparingly. “People can help us tackle the problem by saving water and plugging in the leakage (in the supply lines).”

The water scarcity has also hit Darjeeling town.

Darjeeling municipality had sought Rs 38 lakh from the state government earlier this month to distribute water in houses. “But the money has not been sanctioned yet. We will face a major problem as the present stock will last for a week to 10 days at the most,” said a source.

Darjeeling requires around 16-18 lakh gallons of water everyday. But the municipality can only supply around 7-8 lakh gallons daily.

The hill town gets its water from the North Lake, South Lake and Sindhap that are fed by the Khongkhola river near Sonada.

The river gets its water from 26 streams, out of which 21 went dry by mid-March.

A 1,000 litre of water costs around Rs 350 in Darjeeling.

Some Kalimpong residents draw water from the natural springs, while most buy water from the markets.

A 1,000 litre of water in Kalimpong costs anything between Rs 200 and Rs 300 depending on the distance of a house from the source like small streams or jhoras.

“Things are bad, but manageable for now. But if the situation worsens, it will cause a dent in our pockets,” said Ratan Lama, a resident of 10 Mile near here.

The Kalimpong municipality said today water drawn from some of the sources in town was unsafe for drinking.

“The municipality along with the health department had sent water from 10 different sources in and round town for tests. The tests have confirmed the presence of coliform (bacteria) in the water. The water from these sources is unsafe for drinking but it can be used for washing and other purposes,” said Dr. S. D. Zimba, the health officer of the civic body.

The contaminated sources are three jhoras in the 12Mile area, Ghatay khola in Sindebung, Raushay Bazar jhora and Gangi jhora at Dungra Busty.

“The contaminated water can cause bacterial infections like typhoid, paratyphoid, cholera, bacillary dysentery and viral infection like viral hepatitis A and E, rotavirus diarrhoea, travellers’ diarrhoea and amoebic dysentery,” Zimba said.

The municipality went public with the findings of the tests on World Water Day that is observed world wide on March 22 to focus on the importance of fresh water and sustainable management of its sources.