Natural springs dry up in HP

Natural springs dry up in HP

Urbanisation destroys source of water

For residents of Shogi, a hamlet tucked away in the hills near Shimla, a natural spring reminds them of the havoc ecological degeneration can cause.

People there face a daily battle of fetching drinking water from the spring, the back-breaking task starting as early as 3.30 am. But they have a natural spring to depend on, although in its last stages.

All other local springs nearby have dried up. Shogi is another ‘Queen of the Hills’, as Shimla was fondly called by the British, who made it their summer capital.

“Water bodies have disappeared now. Water now flows in this last surviving bowli (small underground water body) drop by drop,” says octogenarian Zile Singh. He says locals used to bring their livestock here to let them drink water. “Now there is hardly any water left for people, forget animals,” he adds.

Another villager, Brahmi Devi, says the area faces water scarcity in both summer and winter. “Earlier, it took just one to two minutes to fill a 15-litre container. But in the last six years, it takes at least 10 minutes to fill the same container,” she says.

This means the volume of water has reduced drastically. Old-timers recall that till the early 1990s, the area had numerous natural springs. Today, the source of these springs has dried up due to rapid urbanisation.

Oak trees and other groves that are known for arresting every drop of rainwater have been felled, while the number of inhabitants in the small area has crossed the 15,000 mark. A floating population of tourists makes the situation worse, say villagers.

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