Gangtok: How cold is Sikkim currently? Well, to give you an idea, the source of water supply 17 kilometres northeast of Gangtok, lake Tamje is frozen.

The perennial spring water source tapped at an altitude of 2,500 m (8200 ft) above main supply line on Rateychu Khola is fed through snow melting of Tamje lake and its surrounding area at an altitude of 12,500 (3800 m).

Sikkim’s Department of Public Health Engineering on Wednesday said Gangtok residents would receive water supply only once a day for a duration of 1 to 1½ hours.

“The water supply twice a day will start as soon as discharge at the source improves. The Department also appeals not to waste water at this critical juncture.”

The water supply problems have been further compounded due to the freezing of Tamje lake in the past one month or so, the department said.

The approach to Reteychu and its surrounding areas continue to experience heavy snowfall, seriously affecting the normal water supply. Water in the pipes has frozen and joints dislocated due to freezing and expansion.

“The diversion of almost the entire river has not been meeting the day-to-day water demand in Gangtok,” the department informed.

Water is channelized from Rateychu to a water treatment plant located at Selep near Bulbulay in Gangtok. The plant consists of water pipes running for about 16 km along the rugged and difficult mountainous terrain.

“The terrain has experienced many changes over the last ten years due to the earthquakes of 2011 & 2015. The main course of the river at tapping point itself has undergone changes, thereby the flow towards the intake has been disturbed,” the department said.

As such, PHED has been compelled to supply water only once in a day. It may continue for another month or so, or till the Tamje lake starts melting to discharge sufficient quantity of water to Rateychu Khola.

Also read: Sikkim, North Bengal receive fresh snowfall

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