Women of over a dozen villages of far flung Tanta Panchayat of mountainous Kahara Tehsil are forced to trek several kilometres from their homes just to get a pot of drinking water.
As the day dawns, one can find women walking in groups just to fetch a pot of water for their family.
Hilly and inaccessible, Tanta Panchayat consists of 12 small hamlets nestled in the mountainous range and have no motorable link.
The nearest source is an exposed spring situated at over 3 kilometers away at Wanipura which could be approached after trekking through dense forests, while others in adjoining villages queue for hours to collect their daily supply from the few functioning taps in the area.
This is the only choice they have, as the other major source of water is further 10 Km downhill.
"It takes us about 3 to 4 hours to fetch 10 litre of water. We move in groups to the water source situated at 4 Km because passing through the thick forest involves risk of bear attacks as every now and then our cattle are being attacked and killed by the wild animals" said Shamima Begum (25) of Bagran village of the Panchayat.
With her toddler tied on her back and water pot on her head she said "We have been with this problem for many years, adding "After all the hard work and risk we get muddy water because cattle also use the same source".
Locals said that the situation has turned graver during past years as many natural sources of water like springs have dried up in the area because of climate change.
Many residents are now taking recourse to conservation of the little rain water they can find in the muddy ponds for their daily chores, and in these tough times some are even drinking the same water, they said.
"Talking of Prime Minister's 'Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan' and Rural Sanitation Programme in our Panchayat is a cruel joke as we are not getting enough water to drink or cook and in given circumstances how can we even think of having facility of flush toilets," Said Mushtaq Ahmed (27),of village lower Tanta.
"My village is without potable water supply for last more than one year. The existing water pipes laid 40 year back have completely damaged." he said.
The assurances by the concerned Junior Engineer (JE) PHE to the repeated pleas of the people always turn out hallow he added.
"We are facing severe water crisis. On the papers PHE Department has shown that water pipes have been laid and millions spend in the area on providing connections to all the households through Mubal Goth to Bagran and Draman to Bagran scheme. But on ground only 40 out of 550 housholds are provided with the water connections," Said Sarpanch Tanta Mohammad Ramzan.
When contacted SE PHE Doda Ashok Kumar Pradhan said,"I am not aware of the problem of this particular area and will ask to Xen Kishtwar to enquiry about the matter and submit the report of the same at the earliest".