Aizawl, Jun 5 : You wouldn't expect one of India's wettest states to suffer from a water crisis. But residents of Mizoram's capital have a tough task sourcing water.
For one, traditional sources have all but dried up. And two, despite the state having one of the most expensive water-lifting schemes in the country, much of the water is wasted.
Before Mizos learned to harvest rainwater, they depended on streams and springs. Now, Aizawl's natural water springs dry up during the dry season, while Tlawng river, the sole source of water supply, is reduced to a stream.
Mizoram had two main reservoirs, one built in 1900 and the other in 1953-54. In 1963, the Aizawl Water Supply Scheme was initiated to lift water from Tlawng, a height of 1,050m in Tuikhutlang reservoir through seven stages of pump-sets.
In 1972, the Greater Aizawl Water Supply Scheme was launched to cater to barely 80,000 people. This is one of the most costly water lifting schemes in the country. It's also extremely wasteful.
Then came the Greater Aizawl Water Supply Scheme Phase-II that has been a non-starter. Work on the Rs 177cr scheme began in 1998, but remained incomplete.
"We get water once in three or four days. Sometimes we don't get even a drop in a week," laments a resident. Not that Aizawl needs to suffer.
A village near the capital, Lungleng, is regarded as India's model village for its success with rainwater harvesting practices.