Port Blair, May 21: The Member of Parliament of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Shri. Kuldeep Rai Sharma has suggested comprehensive solutions for resolving the worsening water crisis in A & N Islands.

During a recent meeting with the Chief Secretary the Member of Parliament said that  the water crisis in our islands is not a new phenomenon. Islanders have experienced severe water scarcity in various locations in the past, and it continues to pose a significant challenge for our residents. In both 2007 and this current year of 2023, we have faced an alarming shortage of water due to the failure of the monsoon, exacerbating the crisis we are already grappling with. The North and Middle Andaman monsoon, which plays a crucial role in replenishing our water resources, has been erratic in its patterns, and this trend shows no signs of improvement.

He said that looking at all these, it is imperative that we take immediate action to ensure that the South Andaman region has an adequate water supply, even in the face of insufficient rainfall in the coming years.

To address this pressing issue, the Member of Parliament proposed:

1) Utilize the funds available under the smart city project to create water bodies:

I have been informed that the Andaman Nicobar administration has received a substantial amount of funds under the smart city project. I humbly request that a portion of these funds be allocated towards creating large water bodies in Port Blair and South Andaman areas. By constructing these water bodies, we can better manage the water crisis that our region faces almost every year.

2) Emphasize water conservation and rainwater harvesting:

It is crucial to raise awareness among the residents about the importance of water conservation. Implementing rainwater harvesting techniques in households, public buildings, and commercial establishments can significantly contribute to augmenting our water resources during times of scarcity.

3) Implement desalination plants:

Given our island location surrounded by seawater, investing in desalination plants can provide a sustainable solution to our water woes. Establishing such plants would enable the conversion of seawater into potable water, thereby reducing our dependency on rainfall and traditional freshwater sources.

4) Formulate a water policy:

There is an urgent need to formulate a water policy for Andaman and Nicobar Islands that deals with the water situation of all the islands and solves the problem within. We have sufficient water sources, but due to the absence of a water policy, we are unable to tap these resources and provide sufficient water to the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. With experts and PRI members and prominent citizens on board, we can formulate a water policy that caters to the needs of all.

While Formulation of a water policy for Andaman and Nicobar Islands special emphasis must be given to Tourist Destinations like Shaheed Dweep, Swaraj Dweep, South Andaman etc.

5) Construction of Massive lake with Zero Cost:

Allotment of a large piece of land for earth extraction purposes (after proper studies) as it is done in quarry material extraction can also solve the water crisis problem of these Islands.

This would allow the Earth Movers to extract earth from specific locations allotted by the Administration and supply it to those who require it. Extraction of earth will naturally result in the creation of a man-made lake, which can be used as a massive catchment area for rainwater. This will provide a sufficient quantity of water to the people of South Andaman region.

Creation of man-made lakes has been successful in other parts of the country, such as ‘Bada Talaab’ in Bhopal. This lake has a catchment area of over 36 sq km and is the main source of potable water for the Bhopal city. Similarly, the creation of a man-made lake in South Andaman can provide water to the people of the region.

For this purpose, a large area can be allotted in one place or many small areas in several different locations of A & N Islands (where water crisis is more) can be allotted for this purpose after a proper survey conducted by the Administration.

This will provide a reliable source of water for the people of the region and also ensure that those involved in earth extraction activities can continue to earn their livelihoods. This will not only make earth extraction an easy and less expensive process but also provide these Islands with massive lakes at zero cost.

On the Ecological point of view, if earth for all kinds of development works is provided by digging earth (after proper studies) it will save all the mountains (hilly-lands) of our Islands.

He added that such lakes can be later transformed into a tourism destination, nature park and water sports destinations.

6) Complete the Flat Bay Water Project:

The proposed construction of a Bridge-cum-Dam between Minnie Bay and Mithakhadi area of South Andaman region, known as the Flat Bay Water Project, will provide a vast catchment area of freshwater that can yield up to 64 MLD per day of water, meeting the growing demand of the island's tourism industry as well and will serve as long term measure to mitigate the water crisis of South Andaman which has maximum demand of fresh water.

7) Completion of Start Stage-II of the Rutland Water Supply Project:

Currently five perennial sources of water have been tapped, providing 6.60 MLD of water, which is transported to Pongi Balu through a 300 mm dia submarine pipeline. However, there are an additional five untapped perennial water sources on the western side of Rutland Island and five untapped perennial sources of water on the eastern side of Rutland Island. When tapped, these sources will provide an additional discharge of 6.0 MLD and 10 MLD of water, respectively, augmenting the available water from 6.60 MLD to 22.60 MLD. The completion of the proposed project will help slay the water demand of Port Blair city during the summer months from January to May every year and make available the required quantity of water to the general public, preventing the situation of water curtailment in the coming 15-20 years.

8) Nimbu Bagicha, North Bay Project:

At Nimbu Bagicha, North Bay there is a nallah having a perennial flow and the water from the nallah flows into the sea throughout the year without any effective use. By constructing a dam/weir at suitable location, the water flowing in nallah can be tapped and subsequently used for augmenting the supply of the fresh water at Bambooflat and its adjoining localities.

9) Utilization of Sippighat Sweetwater lake to store flowing water from Dhanikhari Dam and reuse the same:

There is a need to store the water flowing out of Dhanikhari Dam in the Sweetwater lakes of Sippighat. This Sweetwater lake will also work as a catchment area and ensure a positive supply of water to the entire South Andaman region.

10) Construction of a dam at Pranashala area of Rangat Middle Andaman:

He requested to construct a dam at Pranashala area of Rangat Middle Andaman, which can provide drinking water to at least 6 to 7 Panchayats around the Rangat region and thousands of people.

11) Construction of a dam at Khudirampur, Diglipur which will solve the water problem of the Diglipur area:

The construction of a dam at Khudirampur in Diglipur is a proposed solution to address the persistent water problem in the Diglipur area and the broader North Andaman region. This dam would effectively mitigate water scarcity by providing a reliable source of water for domestic, agricultural, and industrial needs. The reservoir created by the dam would store and regulate water flow, ensuring a consistent supply during dry spells and seasonal variations. The project holds the potential to alleviate the hardships faced by the local communities, enhance agricultural productivity, support economic growth, and improve overall living conditions in the region.

12) Dredge or desilt DhaniKhari Dam to augment its dead storage capacity and ensure that it can store more water:

To increase the storage capacity of DhaniKhari Dam and enhance its ability to hold a larger volume of water, it is necessary to perform dredging or desilting operations. By removing accumulated sediment and debris from the dam, the dead storage capacity can be augmented, allowing for greater water storage and ensuring a more efficient water management system.