KOCHI: Rivers that had nearly drowned the state in the month of August have shown a decrease in their stable water levels. Bharathapuzha, Kabani, Periyar and Pampa, that have long watered their respective districts ensuing groundwater levels and healthy yield, are noted to have a sudden drop in water levels, resulting in fear amongst people. And, the state of Periyar is causing worry to Kochiites.
“The thirst of Kochites are primarily solved by the Periyar. An alarming dip in the river’s water levels is leading to shortage in potable water. I feel we must be vigilant about the daily use of water and use accordingly,” said a resident of Kochi.Along with rivers, flood banks and wells too have displayed similar turn of events in the drying-up syndrome. “It hasn’t rained since August 21 and the temperature has gradually increased over the days.
This is unusual, considering the time of the year,” said A B Anitha, executive director of the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM). “After the severe flood, the top soil up to a depth of two metres has completely eroded and deposited itself in coastal lands and low-lying areas. Rocks have developed fractures through which water can flow through,” said Anitha, regarding the baffling shortage in water supply. “We are yet to conduct a detailed, location-specific geographical investigation,” added Anitha.
S Abhilash, executive director of the Radar Centre, CUSAT, arrives at the same conclusion. “The flood waters have removed the surface layer of soil which has effective water-holding capacity. It has replaced the top soil with mere mud that has no such characteristic,” Abhilash reiterated. “Flood waters flow through the flood plains which retain excess rainwater. But flood plains have been drastically reduced due to occupations such as sand-mining and quarrying. Other water retaining areas such as paddy fields and agricultural lands are also diminishing,” Abhilash added.
Wet lands are generally recharged by groundwater. Therefore, their shrinkage actively contributes to drought as recharge does not take place. The Indian Meteorological Department is yet to predict the forecast for the north-east monsoon, which could be the only saving grace for water levels to arise.
Wet lands are generally recharged by groundwater. Therefore, their shrinkage actively contributes to drought as recharge does not take place. The Indian Meteorological Department is yet to predict the forecast for the north-east monsoon, which could be the only saving grace.