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Chingkheiching Water Treatment Plant inaugurated by CM Biren on February 19

Constant Water Leakage Because of Defective Valve Hastened Water Level Depletion at Singda Dam

Almost all the government water supply units have stopped supplying water to general public in Greater Imphal Area citing the level of water in the rivers from where raw water is pumped up for treatment has gone down below pumping level as reason. This is particlularly for the water treatment plants which depend on Imphal River and Iril River in Manipur Valley.

Meanwhile the reason for this inability to supply water regularly to the general public for the last two-three years from the Water Treatment Plants of Singda, Kangchup and Kangchup Extention given by the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), commonly known as Water Supply Department is the non-stop leakage of water through the faulty valve on the southern canal of Singda Dam thereby resulting in rapid depletion of water level in the reservoir of Singda Dam.

Now, the Water Treatment Plants of Singda, Kangchup and Kangchup Extension which depend on Singda Dam Reservoir for raw water have stopped supply of water to the general public as the Dam has almost dried up as its feeder streams Singda, Kharam and Ireng Lok can no longer feed the dam during this dry season due to deforestation and destruction of catchment areas of the streams.

It may be mentioned that the three water treatment plants of Singda Dam provide potable water to many parts of the Imphal West district with over half the urban population in the district.

Imphal city has been facing a drinking water crisis for the last six/seven months or so. Since almost all the government water treatment plants providing water in Greater Imphal and its adjoining areas have stopped supplying water to the general public, people are buying water from private water tankers at exorbitant rates and no one in the government seems to bother. Most parts of Imphal city have been facing water scarcity and have had to depend on private water tankers.

Common people are spending upto Rupees 600 for purchasing 1000 liters of water and upto Rupees 2000 for purchasing 6000 litres of water. The price of water may be less for those who have been regular customers year-round while those who didn’t buy water before are facing difficulties to get even a tank of 1000 litres. While sparingly use, 1000 litres hardly last three days in a family of five.

Meanwhile, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on February 19, 2023 launched the Water Treatment Plant at Chingkheiching in Imphal East for Imphal city and the Water Treatment Plant at TV Tower Porompat, Laiwangba part II. The raw water for the Chingkheiching Water Treatment Plant is drawn from Thoubal Multi-Purpose Project (Mapithel Dam) through long mega pipes. The Chingkheiching Water Treatment Plant is said to be a new technology-based way to tackle Imphal city’s water crisis having a capacity of 45 MLD.

Assuring the people of providing potable water, the Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said once the pipeline work is completed; the Water Treatment Plant at Chingkheiching would be able to provide water to various parts of Imphal, including even those areas which were provided from Singda Dam. The Chingkheiching plant will provide treated water to areas under Imphal East and Imphal West etc and also the Laiwangba plant at the Imphal River bank at Khurai Thoudam Leikai in Wangkhei Assembly Constituency which has a capacity of eight lakhs litres will provide water to various areas around the plant, the Chief Minister added.

The Chief Minister further said, “It will benefit the people, solving the water shortage in dry season.”

The Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren lamented, “There is apprehension about the scarcity of water among the public but they are not worried about the cause of water scarcity and drying up of water sources is mainly due to large scale deforestation. The state government has been in an effort to provide tap water to entire Imphal areas by the plant for the period before the rainy season.”

Laying stress on mass deforestation in hills for poppy plantation and degradation of wetlands, he said it is also a factor of water scarcity.

Moreover, Minister for Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Leishangthem Susindro said in the recently concluded third session of 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly on February 28 that Manipur government will frame a law to properly regulate the water supply systems including the private suppliers before the next assembly session. The minister was replying to a question by an opposition Congress MLA during a discussion in the on-going budget session.

On the present water crisis at different parts of the state, he said areas of Maram, Ukhrul and Churachandpur districts are also facing shortage of water. Manipur is presently reeling under shortage of water supply after drying up of the water sources including Singda water reservoir which was the main water supplier of the population in Imphal areas, due to deforestation. Residents of Imphal area, having a projected population of 7.8 lakh, require 133.52 million litres per day.

Highlighting the government’s plan, he said the department is also planning to pump up water from Ijei River once the railways tunnel constructions are completed, and also from Loktak Lake and from Barak River at Karong up to Imphal River at Kangpokpi area.

Responding to the demand for completion of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), the minister said the state is targeting to complete water supply schemes taken up in the state under NDB(New Development Bank) scheme by December next year (2024) even though the actual target of completion is August 15, 2024. Only about 411 villages out of the state’s 2,556 villages have 100 per cent functional household tap connections, he added.

JJM is a government initiative to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.

In July 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for an Rs 3050 crore worth Manipur Water Supply project which would benefit large parts of the state. In January 2021, a six member delegation from National Jal Jeevan Mission visited Manipur. Manipur has around 4.51 lakh rural households, out of which tap water supply is available to 1.67 lakh (37 per cent) households. The state aimed to provide 2 lakh Functional Household Tap Connections in 2020-21. The State had planned for 100 per cent tap water connections coverage by 2021-22 under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).

Although the Chingkheiching Water Treatment Plant has been inaugurated, no water runs through the pipes laid by the PHED for consumers. Even water metres have been installed in many households where PHED water can’t be tapped even with the help of water pumps.

Common people particularly poor families are hit hard due to the water scarcity. Many families can’t afford to buy water from private water suppliers. While even those who can afford can’t buy water from private suppliers any time, the state government is talking of the causes of water scarcity in the state instead of addressing the immediate water crisis. Of course, the causes of water scarcity need to be understood for the long-term and mid-term solutions. But trying to find the reasons of a fire broke out and talking of the reasons won’t douse the burning fire. As instead of finding reasons of a fire broke out, at first the burning fire needs to be extinguisehd by any means; it is needed to take up measures to meet the immediate needs of water for the public.

Nowadays, common people are aware that many rivers, lakes, natural springs and perenial streams are dried up due deforestation and destruction of catchment areas. With a deficit monsoon last year, even a layman can anticipate water scarcity in winter and dry season.

However, inspite of receiving an annual rainfall of 1,467.5mm, which is higher than the national average, Manipur experiences water scarcity persistently. This implies the lack of facilities to harvest rainwater and management of water resourses to supply potable water to general public.

It is the responsibility of the government particularly PHED (Water Supply Department) and Department of Water Resources to supply potable water to meet the immediate needs of the general public. The government should immediately arrange to provide water by managing available water sources using most modern art of techonlogy instead of PHED is washing off hands by issueing notifications like such and such water treatment plants or water supply schemes would not be able to supply drinking water for lack of raw water to pump up.

1 thought on “Constant Water Leakage Because of Defective Valve Hastened Water Level Depletion at Singda Dam”

  1. If government learn this fact and findings, scarcity of drinking water can be resolved on some part.

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