Amid reports that more than 1,400 locations in Uttarakhand are grappling with shortage of water, chief minister Triverndra Singh Rawat Thursday appealed to the people to have their houses fitted with rain harvesting systemInaugurating a statewide week long campaign under which people would be sensitised about storage and conservation of water, Rawat said the state was facing chronic water crisis for want of ground water recharge. “But it won’t be possible to take the campaign for water conservation to its logical conclusion without the active participation of the common man,” he said before flagging off a mechanised rath (vans) each for Kumaon and Garhwal regions.The vans would use audio material and related literature to disseminate information on water conservation in the two regions, officials said.Raghav Langar, director, Swajal (a government agency for water conservation) said a web portal had also been created, which would have the entire database relating to natural springs across the state. “So far, mapping of some 27,000 natural springs has been carried out. A complete data (on natural springs in the state) to be fed into the web portal would be ready in a month,” he said, adding that it would also include data on structures of natural springs and the types of vegetation around them.Langar informed that the portal would also include the data pertaining to iron and fluoride contents in natural springs. “Besides, it would also mention the distance of toilets, if any, from those water sources so that they could be protected from contamination,” he added.HT PhotoChief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat puts a sand-filled one-litre bottle in the flush of the toilet at his official residence. Rawat said groundwater in the state was not recharging as cement concrete structures don’t let rain water to percolate, which flows directly into rivers through the drainage system. “I therefore urge the people to have their residential premises fitted with rainwater harvesting system”, he said. The CM said that it would entail some extra expenditure but “that shouldn’t be a problem considering that a house costs lakhs of rupees.”The chief minister also urged the people not to use the quantity of water beyond what is sufficient to flush toilets. “This wastage of water can be stopped just by putting a one-litre plastic bottle filled with sand inside the cistern,” he said. “That single step, if taken in residential colonies, hotels, resorts and offices, can help us save 1 crore litre of water per day.”Rawat cited the example of Dehradun to show the fast pace at which groundwater was depleting compared to the rising demand for potable water. “When the state came into being (17 years ago) the town used to get the supply of 72 million litres water per day, which has now reduced to half (37 million litres water per day),” he said. “Conversely, its (Dehradun) population has registered a directly five-time increase in the corresponding period.”Rawat also underlined the need for turning the campaign for water conservation into a people’s movement and carrying it out on a sustained manner.‘DIGITAL MUSSOORIE’Mussoorie on Thursday became the country’s first hill station to have its cashless transaction system after chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurated it before launching the statewide water conservation campaign. ‘Digital Mussoorie’, the cashless system, will operate under the aegis of the state government and the State Bank of India (SBI).