Srinagar: Despite large number of new water supply schemes started by the incumbent government to overcome the problem of non availability of drinking water, a population of only a small percentage get water from treated sources in the state.
According to the official data, around 65 percent of the population in Jammu and Kashmir having access to tap water of which 34.7 percent get water from treated sources and 29.2 percent from untreated sources.
“6.5 percent people use well water of which 1.9 percent are covered wells and 4.7 are uncovered wells,” sources quoting government figures said.
The rest of the population gets unfiltered water from springs, lakes, canals and other water bodies.
Medical experts are of the opinion that the percentage of people in J&K suffering from various abdominal disorders, including liver and kidney ailments are the result of consumption of untreated water.
There has been a sharp increase in water borne diseases for the past several years. Health experts from the state in their reports had mentioned that these diseases had emerged due to supplying of “contamination and unfiltered” water to the people.
A PHE official wishing anonymity said, “The rickety apparatus for water testing, and poor state of existing water supply schemes is resulting in poor quality of drinking water in Kashmir.”
He added that in many areas of Kashmir, especially the rural ones, water was supplied through pumping stations that neither had a filtration plant, nor a reservoir. “The water is just lifted and pumped, without any treatment. That (absence of reservoir and filtration plant) has a huge bearing on the water quality,” he said.
According to the guidelines, it is mandatory that all the drinking water sources have to be tested once in a year for chemical contamination and twice for bacteriological contamination. Besides, the filtration of water has to be a continuous process.
However, people complain that unfiltered and muddy tap water was being supplied to them without any filtration being done. In J&K, hordes of water supply schemes were taken up for execution over the years, majority of them have not been completed, forcing people to consume water from the contaminated sources.
“These schemes could not be completed due to non-availability of funds,” an official of public health engineering department said.
While there are around 100 water testing laboratories, the PHE department has failed to monitor the water quality with “unfiltered and muddy” tap water being supplied to the people.
The government had sought “one time funding” for completion of around 1600 water supply schemes in the state. Official sources said that around 1,900 water supply schemes have been started by the successive governments in the six eight years in the state. At least 173 were allotted for Baramulla, 156 for Anantnag, 111 for Budgam, 109 for Kupwara, 101 for Kulgam, 90 for Shopian, 98 for Srinagar, 89 for Bandipora, and 73 for Ganderbal.
Similarly, 294 schemes were sanctioned for Jammu district, 168 for Rajouri, 89 for Poonch, 99 for Kishtwar, and 72 each for Kathua and Samba. For Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh region, 149 schemes were allotted.
(With inputs from KNS)