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Water Crisis in Manipur: Issues and Intervation

  


Date: 25th Sept, 2019
 
Venue:  Banquet Hall, 1st Manipur Rifles, Imphal West, Manipur

organised by
 
Intellectual Forum of North East
 
 

Imphal, February 25th, 2019:

Water crisis is a situation when there is no availability of good water or available water is less than the demand. The United Nations acknowledges 2.6 billion people are without adequate water for sanitation and in view of worldwide water crisis, the UN General Assembly has proclaimed the years 2005- 2015 as the International decade for Action on “Water for Life”. The issues are coupled, since, without water for sewage disposal, cross-contamination of drinking water by untreated sewage is the chief adverse outcome of inadequate safe water supply. Consequently disease and significant deaths arise from people using contaminated water supplies which are particularly pronounced for children in underdeveloped countries. India being a land of big rivers and the Himalayas has been facing water crisis and Manipur is not an exception to it.
 
Manipur is blessed with 15 (fifteen) major rivers/ streams under the four major river basins such as (i) The Barak river Basin to the west, (ii) The Manipur River Basin in Central Manipur, (iii) The Yu River Basin in the east and (iv) a portion of the Llyai River Basin in the north.  Besides, the National Wetland Atlas 2010 developed by the Space application Centre has identified 167 wetlands (>2.25 ha) and 541 wetland (< 2.25 ha) covering 63.616 of the total geographical areas under different types of wetland. Besides, the state falls under the high intensity of rainfall areas (ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate change, Government of India, downloaded on July 14, 2016). As per the record of the Department of Earth Sciences, Manipur University, the state has not recoded any situation of draught or severe draught during the period of 1926 to 2009 (The Sangai Express 2014, Why Manipur faces water crisis?, June 12, Imphal).
 
However, the state particularly has been facing water crisis since the last decade and more so in the last five to six years. The situation have reached such a level that the residents from different parts of the state gathered in Imphal to discuss the looming water scarcity as a result of the dry spell sweeping across Manipur. The concern of the residents is also because of the fact that, most of the water supply schemes in and around the Greater Imphal area have not been either able to supply adequate water or are lying defunct because of drying up of rivers. This has also been acknowledged by former minister of Public Health Engineering Irengbam Hemochandra Singh who, admitted that Imphal city is facing an acute shortage of water (Khelen Thokchom 2014, Water crisis throws life out of gear in Imphal, Times of India Apr 27). As per the record of the PHED, they aims to provide at least 135 litres of water for an individual living in urban area and 40 litres per capita per day in rural areas but it has been largely on paper and people are buying water every day for their daily requirements. What has deepened the water crisis is the increasing privatisation of water in Imphal city and its greater Imphal areas. The Government’s water supply facilities have stopped functioning since the rivers, which are the only sources of water, have gone dry. But, numerous private traders are earning a comfortable income by selling drinking water to each house. They have also hiked the price by taking advantages of the closure of Government water supply facilities.  Considering the situation, the Health officials observed that there may be an outbreak of water-borne diseases as it is difficult to trace the source and the status of water that is being supplied by the private water traders (Iboyaima Laithangbam (2014), Manipur facing acute drinking water shortage, The Hindu, March 22).
 
The situation is same in the year 2018 and 2019. In the year 2018, the state only received 1,181 mm of rainfall against the annual average which is 1,600 mm by the end of September, which is reported to be 34 per cent rainfall deficit. Agro Meteorologist of ICAR Manipur IM Singh stated that “Plentiful rain at this stage is vital for the good production of rice as it is the flowering season of paddy. The impact would be immense if there is no rainfall in the coming days”, said, (Jimmy Leivon, 2018, Manipur records 34 per cent rainfall deficit, CM forms committee to look into farm issues, Indian Express, October 8). Likewise, in the year 2019, the state received 41% less rainfall than normal in the month of June. This situation has compelled the farmer to protest demanding immediate relief for those affected by the drought-like situation (Jimmy Leivon, 2019, Manipur: Farmers growing restless over scarcity of water, stage protest, Indian Express, July 6, 2019). In response to the situation, the state government through the cabinet meeting on July 20, 2019 has decided to urge the Union government to declare Manipur as a drought-hit state.
The government spokesman stated that the rainfall shortage has severely affected the agricultural activities in the state (People Chronicle (2019), State to urge Centre declare Manipur drought-hit, July 21, Imphal).
 

The crisis of water in Manipur could be because of many factors including insufficient rainfall or increase in water demand, deforestations, lack of proper management of water bodies particular the wetlands and community ponds, urbanizations and rapidly expanding population, Leakage in pipes & illegal connections and irregular power supply.  With this background, the TWO DAYS NATIONAL SEMINAR ON WATER CRISIS IN MANIPUR: ISSUES AND INTERVENTION is being proposed at Imphal Manipur with the following sub-themes. The seminar is also to mark the 103rd Birth Anniversary observation of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

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Water Crisis in Manipur: Issues and Intervation

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