Meghalaya focus on rainwater harvesting

SHILLONG: Even with the arrival of monsoon and Cherrapunjee receiving the highest rainfall in the world, Meghalaya is reeling under acute shortage of potable water, prompting the state government to focus its attention on rainwater harvesting. Nothing much has been achieved in this regard so far.

"A few years ago, the assembly was told by the then minister in-charge of PHE that the department was contemplating to send officers to Mizoram to study successful implementation of rainwater harvesting there. The minister had also informed about various measures initiated by his department, including setting up of a quick response team, comprising engineers and magistrates to monitor the supply of drinking water in the city. The government had assured to make all efforts to improve supply of water in Shillong. Nevertheless, it is not known if such initiatives have actually been taken on ground," said Sylvan Lyngdoh, a resident of Pine City.

"In view of drinking water crisis in the Greater Shillong area, the government should, on a war footing, streamline the functioning of all departments concerned to ensure regular and steady supply of water to people. There has to be closer coordination among various departments. In fact, a single body, could be constituted to regulate the supply of water in Shillong," added Lyngdoh.

"It is indeed a pity to watch school children sacrificing their study-time to fetch water from 'leaked pipes' by the street even in the 21st century," exclaims Sarita Pradhan, a poor mother working hard to make two ends meet.

"Unabated stone quarrying has also led to gradual choking of the perennial streams, which had been a major source of water in the hills," said Anupam Das, a research scholar.

An elderly denizen, who does not want to be named, added, "The increase in population in Shillong has mounted pressure on the existing civic infrastructure. The Shillong Municipal Board also lacks technical expertise to meet the challenge of providing potable water to all. Therefore, there should be greater involvement of the local administrative bodies in water management."