HAFLONG, April 23 – Following the destruction of water sources by the construction companies in the name of Mahasadak and BG projects, the entire populace in Haflong area has been hit by acute water crisis.
Haflong is surrounded by several rivers and rivulets, but for the wanton collection of stones from river beds for construction works and disturbance in natural protection and flow of the rivers, the water sources are drying fast, thus causing water pollution and crisis in this district headquarters town.
Dolong river, which is the prime source of water for the people in Haflong, is today totally polluted in the name of Mahasadak construction. Moreover, the diminishing trend of rainfall, perhaps due to global warming and increase in jhum cultivation, has compounded the suffering of the people. What’s worse, water has become a rare commodity in some rural areas of the district.
It is learnt that the existing water supply system, known as the Haflong Water Supply Scheme in Haflong town, was commissioned way back in the year 1972 after an extension of the scheme founded by the British during the early 1930s, covering a population of 6,671 souls in a town area of 5.18 sq km. The scheme was earlier maintained by the Haflong Town Committee and in the year 1985, the same was handed over to the PHE Department.
The water supply scheme was designed for a period of ten years, but as on date, it has already completed almost 35 years, while the water demand has multiplied with the swelling population of the town. The result is different components of the scheme are now incapable of supplying the required quantity of water with several of the scheme’s machinery either running out of life or in dilapidated condition. Moreover, the spring water source of the scheme now gets dried up during the winter season, thus making it difficult to run smoothly.
At present the Diyung river is tapped at Diyung Hrangkhal through a double pumping stage, but it also dries up during the lean peak season of December to April until the monsoon season, if not disrupted by the constant four to five hours of loadshedding of power being supplied by the APDCL. Another river called Bordoloug is tapped by means of gravity to meet the demand of the town but since the last three years, the river has been drying during the pre-monsoon period. On the other hand, sourcing of water from the Dedola stream has been defunct since the last four years due to the ongoing Mahasadak project.
To cater to the needs of the town for drinking water, the PHE Department has taken measures to tap the rivulet Robinalla, besides proposing newer schemes. The department has also undertaken various survey works to explore new water sources and accordingly, a new source at Retzawl has been identified.
However even after tapping all these sources, it is estimated that due to increase in population and the decreasing trend of annual average rainfall as well as drying up of water sources due to various human activities, the shortfall will only increase in the days to come.
Experts feel afforestation in and around the sources is a must now, if at all the water in the rivers and rivulets supplying water to the town has to be retained. The PHE Department and the Water Resource Department must also come together to jointly harness rain water by suitable methods to be used as a source of drinking water, they say.
“We want development, but not at the cost of environment,” opine people here. “There should be checks and balances. The construction companies engaged in the Mahasadak and BG projects should not be allowed to destroy natural water sources, or be involved in wanton cutting of earth and collection of stones from the river beds,” they say.