At the height of the monsoon, it can rain more than 1,000 mm per day in Mawsynram and Cherrapunji, as he did on June 17 last year to set a new 24-hour record of 1003.6mm. Ask Larissa Myrthong to explain the riddle of incessant rain and unreasonable water shortage and she has an answer as dry as the water tap she points to.
“The water supply lasts only about an hour every day. The truth is that none of the political parties has yet treated our water problems with the seriousness that the problem deserves,” she said. .
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The scientific explanation for the rainy region lacking drinking water is “low groundwater recharge” due to a growing population and shrinking forest cover.
Rainwater harvesting is still in its infancy, forcing residents to pay private actors and community organizations to fetch water from streams run by local elected traditional bodies called dorbars.
“Our water often comes from areas that are under other dorbars, and so it’s not free,” said Shembhalang Kharwanlangboss of Dorbar Khliehshnong in Sohra constituency.
Kharwanlang, who also heads the environmental studies department at Sohra College, said there was no solution in sight other than water conservation measures. Larisa, an employee of the local dorbar, said locals like her pay between 300 and 400 rupees for a water tanker containing around 1,500 litres.
In Mawsynram, many families trek through the hilly expanses for more than an hour to reach the streams and fetch enough water to get by. “Those of us who run businesses are hurting the most,” said Bisharlang Kharnaiorwho runs a guest house.