As we dive deeper into understanding Mokokchung’s water crisis, Yanger, SDO PHED Mokokchung, has acknowledged that water scarcity is indeed a pressing socioeconomic issue in the town. He elucidated that Mokokchung lacks a reliable water source, and the crisis has recently worsened due to the severance of the Lithsami pipeline as part of the ongoing road improvement program from Mokokchung-Chare via Dikhu River.

“Lithsami primarily serves Mokokchung village, but the department has negotiated and has been alternating its distribution between the village and the urban area. While it doesn’t address all needs, it somewhat supplements our sole existing source in Angetyongpang.”

Presently, Mokokchung town relies entirely on Angetyongpang for its water requirements but because of the ongoing road construction, the already inadequate water supply has also been disrupted further.

“In addition, the water level in the Angetyongpang source has declined, thus the department has just explored additional sources near the existing source today (28 March). Though not significant, any supplementary source would be better than none,” added the SDO.

Angetyongpang, located in the Minkong area, serves as a crucial water source not only for the town but also for numerous surrounding villages. “During the dry season, despite our efforts, we can only tap 80,000 to 100,000 liters within a 24-hour period,” added the SDO. However, according to the PHED estimate, Mokokchung town requires an approximate 3.6 million liters of water in a day, based on the 2011 census.

“Earlier, there was the Tichipami water source project, and the issue has been talked about over and over. There is water in that source, but it is not a project that can be revamped easily,” the SDO added.

He also explained that the main reservoir of Mokokchung town is in DC Hill, but the water from Angetyongpang does not go there by gravity. Hence, the main reservoir for this source is in Salangtem, generally called the Salangtem pump house.

“This pump covers low-lying wards including Alempang, Salangtem, Kichutip, but other than that, we will have to pump it. So, other than the scarcity of water, pumping is another issue, but that is not the main issue. It also does not cover all households,” he added.

When asked about the department’s potential construction of reservoirs for water conservation, he conveyed the formidable challenges ahead. “Constructing reservoirs these days is not easy due to the scarcity of available land. Moreover, even if we were to build one, it might not cover all of Mokokchung residents,” he said.

“While we urge the public to conserve water, the urban area presents a significant challenge. The department lacks suitable land, and private individuals are reluctant to offer their land for large-scale reservoir construction,” he explained.

“Moreover, if we were to construct new reservoirs, we’d need to develop a comprehensive project proposal, as the department cannot undertake such endeavors independently. However, with urbanization and expansion, individual households are instead urging us to relocate or dismantle old reservoirs. This is another issue the department is dealing with,” he revealed.

Mokokchung town’s primary reservoir is located in DC Hill, boasting a capacity of about 35 lakh liters, with another in Salangtem Ward holding approximately 3-4 lakh liters.

“Although we collect rainwater in our main reservoir during the summer, nearby residents express concerns about potential bursting, limiting our filling capacity. Additionally, the tank’s capacity falls short during the extended water scarcity season, lasting over two months,” the SDO explained.

Addressing the matter of utilizing the Dikhu River as a potential water source, the SDO highlighted previous unsuccessful attempts at pumping from it. “In hilly regions like ours, substantial pumping capacity is essential. Even for transferring water from the Salangtem pump house to the main reservoir in DC Hill, we’re barely managing with a 50-60 hp capacity pump,” the SDO said.

In the event of a machinery breakdown, he said, unfortunately, technical expertise within the department has decreased.

It has come to light that PHED Mokokchung currently lacks essential mechanical expertise, resulting in major repairs being outsourced to Jorhat and Guwahati. Unfortunately, these repairs cannot be swiftly addressed but require considerable time for resolution.

“We lack local technicians in Mokokchung town, therefore, for repairs we transport to Jorhat. This makes managing even our existing pump a challenge, let alone considering the complexities of tapping into the Dikhu River. Hence, we prioritize gravity-fed sources and discourage reliance on pumps due to their extensive maintenance requirements,” the SDO explained.

Regarding the water overflowing in the Salangtem Pump House, the SDO said it originates from two sources: “firstly, when we activate the pump, water is discharged from its washout, and secondly, there are some leaks in the pipes connected to the pump. During the summer, the water flows due to reservoir overflow, while in the winter, it flows upon activating the pump.”

As for water quality, Yanger, the SDO PHED Mokokchung, highlighted that recognized water sources and public water sources are tested, but not every private bore well and ring well. However, he informed private individuals wishing to test their water quality to avail themselves of the certified testing lab in Mokokchung, catering to both rural and urban areas.

Is the proposed DPR the only solution?

The PHED has conducted investigations and identified four reliable water sources: Tsuro Ghorki, Asapa Ghoki, Amsabo Ghoki, and Amali Ghoki streams, located approximately 17.5 km, 14.6 km, 11.8 km, and 8.25 km respectively from Longsa School Compound, suitable for providing sufficient drinking water to Mokokchung.

Proposed Tsuro Ghoki Water source
The proposed Tsuro Ghoki water source (in Zunheboto), about 17.5 km from Longsa School Compound, suitable for providing sufficient drinking water to Mokokchung. (Photo: PHED Mokokchung)

Additionally, a proposal has been made to install a Water Treatment Plant (WTP) at Longsa School Compound, which is 28.20 km from the Existing Main Reservoir in DC Hill, Mokokchung Town. These findings were detailed in the DPR titled “Augmentation of Water Supply to Mokokchung Town under Mokokchung District,” which the AWUMT has submitted to the Chief Engineer’s Office following DPDB approval.

The proposed water supply scheme consists of three components: augmentation of Main Gravity Pipes from WTP at Longsa School Compound to the existing Main Reservoir in DC Hill; Main Gravity pipes of 150mm diameter, 17km long to improve the defunct water supply from Techipami water source; and Main Gravity pipes of 100 mm diameter, 14 km long to enhance the existing water supply from Angetyongpang source.

However, the SDO has informed that this DPR exceeds the budget allocated for the proposed Jal Jeevan Mission – Urban scheme, launched as Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0 for the period from the financial year 2021-22 to 2025-26.

“The department is actively seeking a larger scheme capable of implementing this project,” the SDO stated, while also advocating for rainwater harvesting and rechargeable pits to replenish groundwater levels.

On being asked whether he believes the proposed DPR is the only solution, the SDO said, “I can’t be 100% sure that this is the only solution but as far as the department is concerned, this might be one of the better solutions that we could come up with.”

“In fact, after considering various pros and cons of different types of tapping and channeling water from the source to our main reservoir, including its long-term operation and maintenance, our department decided to pursue it as a better solution to our current crisis,” explained the SDO.

“The lack of a major water source in our district that we can access and channel via gravity is one of the biggest factors that led us to explore options in other districts. In fact, the minor sources or springs that we currently have are also drying up, and many of them are being privatized or reclaimed by landowners for the same reasons (scarcity),” the SDO added.


In this three-part discourse on the water crisis in Mokokchung, it is evident that the water crisis is exacerbated by multiple factors: insufficient water supply, infrastructure challenges, technical expertise deficiency, and also has severe economic implications with citizens depending on buying water from bore well and ring well owners through pick-up truck distributors.

While a Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been proposed to address the water crisis by identifying new water sources and proposing infrastructure improvements, budget constraints pose a significant challenge to its implementation.

The water crisis in Mokokchung is not merely an environmental or infrastructural issue but a complex socioeconomic challenge that requires holistic solutions addressing infrastructure development, technical expertise enhancement, and sustainable funding mechanisms. Failure to address this crisis effectively could have far-reaching implications on the socioeconomic well-being of the town and its residents.

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

ALSO READ: Water – A socioeconomic crisis in Mokokchung (Part 2)

Mokokchung Times

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