JAMMU: With continuous dry spell almost drying up the Tawi, the Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department is blocking the river by creating ‘temporary walls’ to divert water towards filtration plants to maintain drinking water supply for 15 lakh population of Jammu.
Official sources said heavy JCBs and other machinery had been pressed into service to create channels towards three major filtration plants on the banks of the river. Diversions would be created using sand, gravel and boulders.
At the moment, the over exploited river is only sub-surface source to meet drinking water requirements of the Jammu people. These are, Sitle, which adds 17.62 million gallon daily (MGD) to supply system, Tawi lift station adds 1.80 MGD while Boria filtration adds 3 MGD.
A senior official of the PHE Department said the government had been informed about the possibility of public disorder in summer months if draught-like situation continued.
The winter of 2017-18 is considered as one of the driest period in the state and even the glaciers feeding the major rivers and rivulets have received far below snowfall which is likely to deepen the crisis in summer.
Sources said drought was also affecting the supply system in the kandi belt of the state which was heavily dependent upon tubewells and natural springs to providing drinking water to the people and industries.
“We are concerned about continuous drought-like situation, but it’s not alarming yet. We hope there will be spell of rain and snow, which can recharge the sources. But till now we have been able to maintain supply,” said AK Gandotra, Chief Engineer, PHE.
Apart from the Tawi as source, 262 heavy lift tubewells are supplying water to people. As per the latest data, the requirement of water in Jammu has touched 65.10 MGD, while from all available resources only 50 MGD is being generated. The core city area (Jammu city) has a population of 7.50 lakh.