Water Shortage Looms Over Chin State
24 April 2011: People in Chin State have faced a severe shortage of water due to problems resulting from the dry season and the ‘non-operational’ water supply systems still in use across the northwestern State.
And a ‘corrupt’ management system practiced by the local Municipal Department has also been ascribed to the cause of water scarcity in the mountainous State of Burma.
A local from Tedim Town told Chinland Guardian: “We are now in a very difficult situation. People just rely on the community-dug well, which is not far enough for the local population. To the worse, even the hospital has no water any more.”
The ‘unmaintained’ water pipelines are not in good condition as the local authorities have ‘exploited’ for years by supplying water only to those families that can afford to pay for the demanded money, according to the Tedim local.
“We have heard that there is still plenty of water in Sial Tang dam but the authorities who are in charge of the water supply give only to a limited number of people.”
In Hakha Town, people are said to get water supply for only 10-15 minutes a day from private storage, built and maintained with a monthly fee paid by the community members.
“As the government-run water supply system is not working and reliable, local people within their circle or group share financially and store water on their own initiatives. But these are not enough even for themselves and the people are facing difficulties,” a Hakha resident told Chinland Guardian.
In its March report, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said seasonal water shortage is anticipated during the dry season (March-May) in both urban and rural areas in Chin State.
The OCHA also said the increase in urban population, and the depletion of water sources as well as aging water supply systems in rural Chin areas are affecting water availability, adding: “This problem could be further exacerbated during the dry season.”
Some people in Tedim Town are said to have gone down the hill to fetch water from Lamzaang stream, which is about 3 miles away.
Last year, Aung San Suu Kyi-led NLD (National League for Democracy) made contributions toward helping local people in Falam Township who were facing water shortage in the area.
It was reported that each household in Cinmual village received only two buckets of water a day and that some people had to get water from a stream about 9 miles away.
Early this year, NLD also donated rice and water pipes to Kanpetlet and Thantlang townships in Chin State, which have been ravaged by a plague of rats and water shortages, according to sources.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is engaged in improving the water supply systems in a total of 79 villages in Tonzang, Tedim, Falam, Hakha and Thantlang townships while UNICEF is also collaborating in 10 villages of Mindat Township to address the issue of access to safe drinking water and hygience, according to OCHA.
Van Biak Thang