Srinagar, Jan 15: The Jal Shakti department has issued an alarm as Kashmir grapples with a prolonged dry spell, leading to a partial drying of water bodies across the valley.
Chief Engineer of Kashmir Jal Shakti, Sanjeev Malhotra, emphasised the need for a wet spell to replenish water sources and urged people to use water judiciously.
“Water bodies across the valley have partially dried, causing a decline in regular portable water supply,” Malhotra said, adding, “As a precautionary measure, all portable water supply tankers are in alert mode and in a state of readiness.”
The situation is particularly being monitored in some North and central Kashmir areas where water shortage complaints are on the rise.
A noteworthy concern is the historically abundant water sources, including lakes and rivers, are facing unprecedented challenges, raising fears of an impending water scarcity crisis in the region.
An independent weather forecaster in Kashmir said that the Jhelum River’s water level has hit an all-time low due to the prolonged dry spell. He said that the rivers at Sangam and Asham are flowing at the lowest recorded levels, emphasizing the severity of the situation.
“River Jhelum at Sangam in south Kashmir and Asham in north Kashmir is flowing at the all-time lowest water level. The gauge reading of Sangam at 9 A.M. was -0.75 ft and at 7 a.m. was -0.77 ft”, he said.
He added that previously, between November 01 and 16, 2017, the water level dropped to -0.75 ft at Sangam. At Asham, the water level recorded was 0.86 ft at 9 am., which is also the all-time lowest level recorded at this station”.
The persistent lack of rainfall and snowfall has led to dwindling water levels in many water bodies, such as Dal Lake, Wular Lake and the Jhelum River. This scarcity poses a significant threat to agriculture, as farmers heavily rely on consistent water sources for irrigation.
Environmentalists and experts attribute the prolonged dry spells to climate change, urging urgent measures for both short-term water conservation and long-term climate resilience planning.
Environmental lawyer Advocate Nadeem Qadri called for the immediate implementation of a climate policy, emphasising the region’s serious environmental crisis.
“The climate crisis which is emerging in front of us today needs immediate attention of the government. There should be a climate policy in place which is missing on the ground,” he told KNO.
There has been no snowfall in most plain areas of Kashmir, while the upper reaches of the valley have received lesser than usual amount of snow.