Leh may be on the brink of a drinking water scarcity with the Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department curtailing water supply to it and its surrounding beginning this month. The department is supplying drinking water for two hours in the morning and in the evening — the taps are dry the rest of the time. The tube-wells are also running dry at many places as ground water levels is depleting in Ladakh, especially in Leh town.
Freelance journalist Basharat Ladakhi told this reporter that in the past two years more than 1,000 new hotels and guest houses have been constructed in Leh and hundreds of new constructions were going on, but most of the hoteliers and guesthouse owners were banking on tanker supply of water.
Researchers and environmentalists have claimed that the depleting water levels are because of the erratic climatic change. The glaciers are melting at a fast pace and even the ground water levels are not good for the people of Ladakh during the current summer season. Tundop Angmo, who has been publishing surveys about the impact of these changes, warns of a grave crisis. “This summer it would be a water crisis like the one being witnessed in Shimla. Dozens of natural springs have dried-up and there is no recharge of the ground water,” Tundop told this reporter.
Hundreds of tankers daily cater to the hotels and the guest houses, but the receding water levels have already rattled the authorities. “It is a grave crisis and the government will have to intervene to save the Ladakh region from water shortage. There are protests going on against water crisis in many villages of Leh and other areas of Ladakh region,” said Basharat Ladakhi.