The hill state is dependent upon spring water for most of its drinking water requirement as well as for agricultural use
As many as hundred spots have been selected across Nagaland for springshed management with the goal to ensure seasonal water security and conservation of spring.
Government departments and private agencies like Rural Development and Land Resources, Tata Trusts, Arghyam, Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM), People’s Science Institute (PSI), NEIDA and Eleutheros Christian Society (ECS) have joined hands for the project which will continue for three years. The agreement for the scheme was inked last year.
Tata Trusts and Arghyam will provide software support while NEIDA and ECS will extend support for coordination, community outreach and implementation. Villages dependent on spring water for domestic consumption, having acute drinking water shortages and water quality issues were selected for the project.
The hill state is dependent upon spring water for most of its drinking water requirement as well as for agricultural use. However, due to human activities springs have been vanishing making water availability, especially during the winter months a major concern.
Nagaland is one among the most water scarce state in India because of inefficient water management and lack of adequate conservation. This is despite the fact that the state receives very high rainfall and enjoys sub tropical monsoon climate where the average annual rainfall is around 250 cm to 300 cm.
The pre monsoon shower starts from the month of April and the south west monsoon reaches the state in the first week of June and it continues till the end of September. Finally, the retreating monsoon rain start from last week of September which continues till the last week of October. Besides, certain meager amount of rainfalls are also brings by the western disturbances during the winter.
Most villages in Nagaland were established at hill tops to protect themselves from raids by neighbouring villages. These settlements drew drinking water from surface sources, either by gravity or by pumping. The catchment areas of such water sources were small and fragile. With destruction of forests due to logging, slash and burn cultivation and other human activities, the problem of diminishing water quantity at these sources has only increased.
There have been suggestions at regular intervals of measures like afforestation to conserve the natural environment of the areas where water collects, construction of small structures to stop flowing water and increase its percolation in the soil and tapping of groundwater. This would provide an alternative to areas where the depletion of surface water source is more pronounced.
Among the worst hit in the entire state is the capital Kohima which receives only 1.2 million liters per day although its requirement is 10 million litres. A locality called receives water supply after every four days. During the dry season from October till April, the residents have to purchase water from private agencies at Rs. 1000 for 2000 liters. Residents standing in long queues to fetch water are a common sight in Kohima.
Currently there are only 18 reservoirs in Kohima ranging from 50,000 liters to 2 lakh liters. Last year, the government had firmed up plans to supply water to the city from Zarü stream, a tributary of Dzürü. It is estimated that 3.8 million litres which amounts up to 50 per cent can be added to the water supply in Kohima.
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