As per a report published in this newspaper on Thursday, residents of a Kupwara village had held protests against Public Health Engineering (PHE) against non-availability of potable water. Former chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah a day before apprised District Development Commissioner Budgam about the shortage of drinking water in Beerwah. Protests against non-availability of water have also been held recently in different districts and villages from north to south Kashmir and beyond the division. Water scarcity in Kashmir is a recurring issue – in winters the supply gets thinner with the officials citing rupture of pipes as the reason behind water scarcity, in summers the main reservoirs are said to run dry. While the heat in summer causes a different kind of inconvenience, the sub-zero temperatures in winter and gathering water from the nearest source which at times is a kilometer away is no less than an ordeal. Every year people face hardships in both summer and winter months as drinking water gets scarcer. In the city outskirts or fringes and in many habituations far off from city, people do not have drinking water supply reaching their homes. On the other hand the PHE has been very active in the collection of bills with a mobile unit that nowadays reaches the door of the consumer. People are also responsible for the water scarcity in city, towns and villages. Most of the households have huge water tanks that can store a few thousand litres at a time. These rooftop tanks are continuously being filled up with motor pumps. It has become worse since mushrooming of hotels and residences that are rented out as the number of tanks and motors keep on increasing with the department hardly bothered about the problem that cause. As a basic requirement, it is the first and foremost job of the administration to ensure that people have drinking water available at their homes. The performance of PHE department can also be gauged from the fact that Kashmir is a water surplus state and unlike the places that completely depend on monsoons and rains. Take the example of Tamil Nadu state where water was recently transported from Vellore district to Chennai using a 50-wagon train that carried 50,000 litres. In Kashmir, no matter how serious the crisis, it can’t be that difficult as to arrange the water using wagons. In many villages it is just a matter of laying the pipes or supply lines. If the state can’t afford that, it shouldn’t think of development on any other front.