Shimla: Shimla is witnessing a major water crisis during peak tourist season with taps running dry for the eighth day in most parts of the city, forcing people to buy water at exorbitant prices and smaller hotels to cancel bookings even as drinking water supply in the Queen of Hills fell to less than 50% of requirements, courtesy a dry winter.
The Himachal high court on Monday took suo moto cognizance of the crisis, after the local bar association stopped work citing the water problem. The court asked municipal commissioner Rohit Jamwal and other municipal officials to appear in person on Tuesday to explain the reasons for the acute water shortage.
The water crunch had forced locals to spend several hours in queues to get a bucket of water, buy from private water suppliers at double the normal rates, or even, for those who can afford to do it, leave Shimla for the comfort of their villages. “There is no water in the area for the last one week. The residents were told that supply would be restored on Sunday but nothing happened. The people are agitated about the (government) inaction. Most of the traders kept waiting for water the entire say,” said Congress councilor Sushma Kuthiala.
Gumma, the main source of water to the city, draws water from Shimla catchment sanctuary which is fed by nine streams. The British built a large storage tank for supply to the main town. Other sources are Chairh, Giri and Churat. Supply from Ashwani Khad was suspended two years ago after sewage contamination led to a jaundice outbreak.