With intensification of the prolonged dry spell, acute drinking water scarcity has gripped this capital town with water selling for Rs. 20 a bucket.
Reports of water shortage from other district towns of the hill State have been received with authorities regulating the supply so that at least all residential colonies could get water on a rotational basis.
At Kohima, the situation further aggravated with the damage of the main supply pipe at Jotsoma village near here since Monday as an uprooted tree fell on it the previous day following heavy winds, PHE department officials said, adding that repairs might take a few days.
The PHE department has made arrangements to distribute drinking water by water tankers and trucks to the people in coordination with the district administration, Kohima Municipal Council and other departments.
The distribution of water has started in some residential wards since yesterday giving some respite, but hotels and those who reside beside main thoroughfares of the town have been at the mercy of private water vendors.
A pair of buckets of water supplied by the vendors costs at least Rs. 20 with buyers having no choice about the source.
The distribution by tankers in the wards would continue till April 30 subject to extension, PHE secretary Zhaleo Rio said.
A nominal fee of 20 paise a litre will be realised for the water distributed, he said in a notification.
The department has said the water was for drinking and cooking and under no circumstance will a tanker of water be sold to any individual or party, such as hotels and restaurants.
The department has, however, permitted a panchayat chairman or ward councillor to buy a full tanker at the prescribed rate for distribution to the people, it said.
A control room has been opened with phone numbers and the department has asked the citizens to contact for any help or information on distribution of water by tankers in the town.
The dwellers in surrounding villagers have also complained that most streams on hills are slowly drying up since the state experienced less rainfall during monsoon and there was hardly any rain since November.
Since water scarcity during the winter (December—April) is a reality in Nagaland, the State government has encouraged people to take up rain water harvesting in their residences to cover the lean period as the state receives high rainfall during monsoon.
Most buildings under various departments that came up in past few years have rain water harvesting facilities on roof tops.