Jhelum River Reaches Record-Low Water Levels: Valley Faces Drinking Water Crisis.

Jhelum River Reaches Record-Low Water Levels: Valley Faces Drinking Water Crisis.
Jhelum River Reaches Record-Low Water Levels: Valley Faces Drinking Water Crisis.
Jhelum River Reaches Record-Low Water Levels: Valley Faces Drinking Water Crisis.
Jhelum River Reaches Record-Low Water Levels: Valley Faces Drinking Water Crisis.

Jhelum River Reaches Record-Low Water Levels: Valley Faces Drinking Water Crisis.

Jhelum River Reaches Record-Low Water Levels: Valley Faces Drinking Water Crisis. Pic/daily excelsior (shakeel).

Precipitation Drought Plunges Jhelum River to 30-Year Low

In a concerning development, the Jhelum River, a lifeline for many water supply schemes in the Valley, has hit a record-low water level. Officials from the Irrigation and Flood Control Department have revealed that this September witnessed the river’s lowest point in the last three decades, with a shocking measurement of 0.09 recorded at the Sangam gauge on September 14 – the lowest in 70 years.

Rainfall Deficiency and Soaring Temperatures Worsen Crisis

One primary factor behind this alarming decrease in water level is a severe drop in precipitation. Shockingly, only 20mm of precipitation has been received, leaving a staggering 55mm deficiency compared to the average September rainfall of 75mm. Additionally, temperatures have surged 5 degrees Celsius above normal, causing extensive damage to crops. The Valley has experienced an unrelenting heat wave this September, reaching the second-highest maximum temperature on September 12th ever recorded in September since 1891 when the local weather observatory was established.

J&K’s Abundant Hydroelectric Potential

Water Supply Schemes Nonfunctional: Drinking Water Crisis in Valley

The plummeting water levels have left all water supply schemes on the Jhelum nonfunctional, resulting in a severe shortage of water supply in many Valley areas. The most severely affected regions span from Sangam to Bandipora, where the decline in water levels has led to a critical drinking water shortage. In places like Baramulla, including the main town, Khujbagh, Jetty, Sherwani colony, Singabgh, and Monga colony, residents are grappling with severe water scarcity, leaving a significant portion of the population without access to safe drinking water.

Efforts to Mitigate the Crisis and Crop Impact

Chief Engineer of the Jal Shakti Department, Sanjeev Malhotra, acknowledged the crisis’s impact and mentioned adjustments to ensure water flow to pumps. He urged people to use water judiciously, with water tankers available for the worst-affected areas. He also advised against using drinking water for kitchen gardens.

The drop in water levels has also affected nearly 70 percent of irrigation pumps on the Jhelum, impacting crops like apples. However, Chief Engineer of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Naresh Kumar, reassured that the impact on crops is minimal as it occurred after the end of the irrigation season. He emphasized that there is no need to worry since the irrigation season and flood time are over.

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