Is Nainital on the verge of becoming another Shimla?
With significant floating population and surge in the daily arrival of tourists, water consumption in Nainital has increased, while the main source of water supply – Nainital Lake — has shrunk over the years due to encroachmentsUpdated: Jun 05, 2018 22:00 IST
People in Nainital, despite living around a lake, are suffering from water supply woes, especially those living in the higher slopes around the water body.
With significant floating population and surge in the daily arrival of tourists, water consumption in Nainital has increased, while the main source of water supply – Nainital Lake -- has shrunk over the years due to encroachments.
Its water-level keeps vacillating as sources that feed it –like Sukhatal - have been affected and obstructed.
Sunil Tiwari, executive engineer at Jal Sansthan, said at present, they were supplying around 8 million litres water a day to the people in Nainital.
“But in peak tourist season the demand for water rises to around 12 to 13 million litres a day. So this seasonal difference in demand and supply creates some issues in water availability in some areas,” he said.
On why water supply was deficient and erratic in some areas, especially the higher reaches, Tiwari said there were some areas where the pressure in pipes comes down at the higher altitudes, which affects the water supply.
“Also there some areas where the old pipes are yet to be phased out. To do that we have to stop the supply to those areas and then connect them to the new piped network,” he said.
Tiwari said water-level in the Nainital lake had reached 1.75 feet below the zero level. Ideally, with the onset of the summer, the water-level in the lake ought to have been five to six feet above the zero mark.
But over the past few years, the water-level in the lake has gone as down as over 5 feet below the zero mark.
Local residents are blaming authorities for not managing the water supply scenario properly, keeping the growing population in Nainital in mind over the years.
They get a few hours of water supply on a daily basis, which they say was hardly enough in summer when the water requirement increases.
Neeraj Joshi, president of travel and taxi operators association, said over the past two months, there has been erratic and deficient water supply in areas like 12 Pathar, Stoneley Compound, Spring Field area, 7 Number area and Melville Compound area.
“There are three major reasons for water woes in Nainital. First, the source of water – Nainital lake - is shrinking over the years. Second, authorities have not done proper homework for phasing out old pipes due to which water supply gets affected in areas where the phasing out work is carried out,” he said.
Joshi said with the establishment of the high court in the early 2000s in Nainital, the floating population of over 10,000 to 15,000 has increased the demand for water, while the source of water remains the same.
“It is a shame that the city of lakes is facing such problems,” he said.
Shimla in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh continues to reel under acute portable water shortage for many days. Officials blamed it on the rising mercury and the drying up of natural water channels.