As highlighted in the previous issue, Angetyongpang, with a capacity of 0.80 lakh liters per day, serves as the primary gravity-based water supply for Mokokchung. Limanungsang, President of All Ward Union Mokokchung Town (AWUMT), reiterated to this newspaper that Mokokchung town currently relies solely on Angetyongpang for its water needs, a provision that falls short of demand. Moreover, ongoing road construction has further disrupted this already insufficient water supply.

Angetyongpang
Ongoing road construction work near Angetyongpang has reportedly disrupted water supply to Mokokchung town. Angetyongpang is the primary gravity-based water supply source for Mokokchung.

The AWUMT president recalled the existence of another water source for Mokokchung village, originating from Lithsami village through a gravity line, ensuring uninterrupted water supply round the clock. This source interconnected with Mokokchung village and, in turn, supplied water alternately to Mokokchung town along with the village itself.

”In the past, when this connection was intact, one or two wards would receive water, and even IMDH relied on this source,” Limanungsang remarked. However, he lamented that due to the ongoing road improvement program from Mokokchung-Chare via Dikhu River, the pipeline was severed in September 2023, resulting in the loss of this vital water source. Consequently, Mokokchung no longer has access to this water supply.

However, the Mokokchung water crisis is not a recent problem and this has been addressed many times even before as well.

Limanungsang revealed that the AWUMT, acting as a pressure group, had petitioned the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs on 26 May 2015, urging intervention to secure a new and dependable alternative water source for the town. This plea was also forwarded through the State government.

water 2009
Water scarcity is not a new problem in Mokokchung town. Seen here is a 7000 liter water tanker distributing water to residents of Arkong Ward, Mokokchung town initiated by the district administration in March, 2009. The district administration at that time distributed 14000 litres of water to each of the 16 wards of Mokokchung town to mitigate the water scarcity crisis.

Despite these efforts, no favorable response was forthcoming. Consequently, on 15 January 2020, the AWUMT reiterated the issue to the state PHED, yet to no avail. Faced with continued inaction, they presented the matter during the DPDB meeting on 15 April 2021, where a Detailed Project Report (DPR) was submitted for which the response is still awaited.

Furthermore, during the governor’s civic reception on 13 April 2023, they once again appealed for a reliable and technically feasible drinking water facility project in Mokokchung town, but as of yet, no response has been received.

In 2023, the AWUMT submitted the DPR titled “Augmentation of Water Supply to Mokokchung Town under Mokokchung District” to the Chief Engineer’s Office, following DPDB approval.

“We urge the authorities to prioritize the implementation of the ‘Augmentation of Water Supply to Mokokchung Town under Mokokchung District’ project, which we’ve submitted through the department,” he emphasized, underscoring the critical nature of the water crisis.

He continued, “We’re currently surviving on meager water sources such as bore wells, ring wells, and water vendors. However, these resources are insufficient to meet the needs of all citizens.”

water natural source Mokokchung
Residents fetching water from a community-managed natural water source in lower Sangtemla Ward, Mokokchung town. (File photo/2009)

Jongpongtemjen, General Secretary of AWUMT, supplemented, “With bore wells and ring wells drying up within 2-3 years due to climate change, the underground water levels are depleting rapidly. Therefore, if the government pays special attention to this issue, we will be very grateful,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jongpong also encouraged Mokokchung settlers to practice rain water harvesting while advocating for the utilization of recharge water pits.

He added that the AWUMT had even given a 3-month deadline to the PHED, but the department claimed there had been no sanction for it. “In fact, AWUMT even offered labor assistance to the PHED, with all 18 wards ready to provide labor. However, nothing has been communicated from the higher authority,” remarked Jongpongtemjen.

Jongpong also highlighted that sources like Tichipami and Dikhu sources had been abandoned mainly because ‘condemned pipes from other parts of the world were used’, resulting in the district’s inability to utilize the pipeline successfully.

“There is water in the sources. For instance, the connection from Tichipami to Ungma village uses 5-6 inch Galvanized Iron (GI) pipes and, therefore, has abundant water. Therefore, if the department pays attention to using GI pipes, there’s a slight chance in improving the water supply. However, the government is also not prioritizing this,” he expressed.

“This is not a project to be solely funded by the state due to its magnitude. Our observation suggests that if some elected members from Mokokchung take this issue seriously and advocate for a central scheme, progress might be made,” he added.

water natural source
Seen here are young boys filling their buckets from a natural water source in one of the tributaries of Milak river in Mokokchung’s Arkong Ward. The photo is dated to March of 2009. After more than a decade, the water scarcity issue persists in Mokokchung town, offering no respite to its residents.

Limanungsang also expressed concern that since 2015, there hasn’t been any improvement in water supply, describing the situation as “worrisome” and noting that the water scarcity is progressively worsening.

“AWUMT has made significant efforts, and, therefore, we expect the concerned department to take this issue more seriously,” he emphasized. “Due to their inaction, we are inclined to believe that the government does not prioritize this matter. The lack of response from 2015 to 2023 only strengthens this perception, leaving us with the impression that perhaps the government does not view this issue with the seriousness it deserves.”

“We have also stated that we will not settle any bills until there is a consistent water supply, as agreed during a coordination meeting in 2020, and we are strictly adhering to this decision. Those who receive water must be paying the bill,” added the AWUMT president.

The president of AWUMT also expressed skepticism regarding the successful execution of the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban), questioning how door-to-door water supply could be implemented if there is no proper connection from the source.

(This is the second of a three-part series)

ALSO READ: Water – A socioeconomic crisis in Mokokchung (Part 1) here

Mokokchung Times

32 thoughts on “Water – a socioeconomic crisis in Mokokchung (Part 2)”
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