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Plan for protection of water sources on anvil

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SHILLONG, May 14: The impact of mining on catchment areas is testing the Meghalaya government’s will to stop such activities and protect the water sources.
PHE Minister Marcuise Marak on Tuesday said the government is taking steps to undo the damage done to the water sources by sand mining and quarrying in the vicinity.
“Mining activities provide a livelihood to the people. We want to ensure an alternative so that they do not depend on sand mining for survival,” he said.
He said the experts are working on a plan for the government to discuss and act upon.
Apart from the dry weather, deforestation in the Umiew catchment area and rampant stone quarrying in the upper reaches of the river have contributed to the Mawphlang dam drying up, Marak said.
Despite the state water policy underscoring the need for measures to protect water catchment areas, the state government has yet to develop a law to address this challenge.
Marak said the department is working on a system for rainwater harvesting to recharge groundwater.
“The government is preparing a report for such a system. We will try to motivate our people to adopt this system to recharge our groundwater. The system entails digging a pond and draining or directing the rainwater to that pond and help recharge the groundwater,” he said.
The minister also said the government has directed all line departments to prepare short-term and long-term projects to protect the catchment areas.
Many major water sources in the state have dried up due to the recent heatwave. Although it has been raining for some time now, many localities in the city are not getting adequate water.

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