- Sujal Pradhan, NET Correspondent, Sikkim
Due to the inclement weather conditions and heavy snowfall, Gangtok is going through a severe water crisis and regular water supply has been reduced to half.
In this regard, the Public Health Engineering Department of Sikkim Government through an official press release informed that Gangtok water supply system has a perennial spring water source tapped at an altitude of 2500 m (8200 ft) above MSL on Rateychu Khola.
It is fed through snow melting of Tamje lake and its surrounding area located at an altitude of 12,500 (3800 m).
However, the water is channelized from Rateychu to water treatment plant located at Selep near Bulbulay, which consists of water pipes running for about 16 km along the rugged and difficult mountainous terrain.
The terrain has experienced many changes over the last ten years due to the earthquakes of 2011 & 2015, and main course of the river at tapping point itself has undergone changes thereby the flow towards the intake has been disturbed.
The water supply problems have been further compounded due to freezing of Tamje lake in the past one month or so.
This approach to Reteychu and its surrounding is continuously experiencing heavy snowfall seriously affecting the normal water supply. Water in the pipes has frozen and joints dislocated due to freezing and expansion. The diversion of the almost entire river has not been meeting the day to day demand of water in Gangtok.
As such PHED has been compelled to supply water only once in a day. It may continue for another month or so, or till the Tamje lake starts melting to discharge sufficient quantity of water to Rateychu Khola.
“Therefore, it is for the information of the General Public that the PHED may continue to supply water only once a day for a duration of 1 to 1½ hours, – the press release further reads.
The water supply twice a day will start as soon as discharges at the source improves. The Department also appeals not to waste water at this critical juncture. Any leakages observed or noticed in any of the PHED pipelines may kindly be brought to the notice of PHED for an immediate redressal. The information of water leakages may immediately be “Whatapp” to any of the following numbers:-