Recent flash floods trigger drinking water, irrigation crisis in Baramulla areas

Recent flash floods damaged 70 water supply installations and 13 irrigation canals across Baramulla district, causing a drinking water crisis in scores of affected villages.

If immediate measures are not taken, the damage to irrigation canals is also likely to adversely affect agricultural production in the northern Kashmir district, farmers fear.

Officials said Tangmarg and Baramulla sub-divisions of the district were the worst affected where Ferozpora stream overflowed and breached at several places on Wednesday, resulting in huge damage to water supply schemes in the area.

In Baramulla division alone, around 36 water supply installations were badly damaged in the recent flashfloods, causing problems in water supply to scores of villages mostly in Pattan block and Kandi area of the district.

“We are without drinking water since last four days. Women of our area are using the polluted water from nearby streams which has potential to engulf the area with the waterborne diseases,” said Firdous Ahmad, a resident of Hanjiveera Payeen.

Executive Engineer, PHE Division Baramulla Abdul Qayoom said that efforts were on to restore the damaged water supply installations.

“We have temporarily restored some water supply schemes and efforts are on to restore others too. The flash floods had badly affected most of the water supply schemes and the department is trying hard to restore them completely,” Qayoom said.

In Tangmarg, where a bridge was completely damaged by flashfloods 21 out of the 30 water supply installations were also completely damaged, officials said. Seven were partially damaged.

The residents of villages that were submerged during the flash floods said that the area was facing the worst drinking water crisis and four days on the authorities had been unable to deliver tap water to the people.

“Since last four days, our water taps are running dry. We don’t have a drop of water to drink. Following the large scale damage to water supply schemes, the authorities should have made elaborate arrangement of water tankers especially from Srinagar,” said Ghulam Rasool, a resident of Kulhama village in Tangmarg.

Assistant Executive Engineer PHE, Tangmarg, Sameer Ahmad said that several damaged water supply schemes have been partially restored.

“The extent of damage is huge and we are working hard to restore them permanently. The partially restored water supply schemes cannot fulfill the drinking water demand of the affected people. However, we are working hard to restore them so that issue of drinking water crisis is tackled completely,” Ahmad said.

Besides the water supply installations scores of irrigation canals were also severely damaged by Wednesday’s flash floods.

Officials said, over 13 irrigation canals were badly damaged following water discharge from Ferozpora Nallah, Fresthar Nallah, Gundari Nallah and Nallah Ningli.

The heavy discharge following the flash floods damaged irrigation canals like Babul Kul, Tilgam Canal, Lalpora Canal, KHai Khul Tangmarg, Nehalpora Canal, Chukur Khul, Kalran Khul, Badran Khul, Yal Khul, Dehgam Khul, Garan Khul, Shah Khul andMuqam Khul, depositing huge amounts of silt in them.

The flash floods hit at a time when agriculturists need immediate irrigation for their fields.

Farmers in the affected areas say if the damaged canals were not restored soon crop production would be badly hit.

“The rural economy of entire area of Tangmarg and Pattan blocks, besides kandi belt of Baramulla depends on agriculture. If authorities won’t take timely measures, then people of these areas will be pushed to extreme hardships,” said Abdul Salam of Tangmarg.

Executive Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Baramulla Division, Riyaz Ahmad, said efforts were on to repair the damaged irrigation canals.

“We are assessing the loss and all the measures will be taken to restore the damaged irrigation canals,” Riyaz Ahmad said.