KURNOOL: A clash between two families over drinking water on Friday led to the death of a woman at Lakshmi Nagar here. The incident highlights the worsening drinking water crisis in the city and other parts of Kurnool district.
Moulabi, mother of a two-month-old baby girl, was injured while she was trying to stop a fight between her parents -- Sk Sahavali and Shakunbi -- and neighbours - Ramachandramma and Ratnamaiah. She suffered a head injury when she was pushed by the neighbours. Later, she was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Police registered a case and launched a manhunt for the accused.
Moulabi was allegedly hit by Ramachandramma and Ratnamaiah during an argument over as to whose turn it was to fill water at the municipal tap in their street on Thursday. Keeping this in mind, her parents picked up a fight with their neighbouring couple on Friday leading to Moulabi’s death.
Acrimonious quarrels at municipal taps and water tankers in the streets of Kurnool have become a common sight in the last two weeks. Over 100 colonies in a city of nine lakh population are now getting drinking water supply once or twice a week.
The existing 0.15 TMC of water in Sunkesula Barrage, the main source of drinking water to Kurnool city and nearby mandals, will last for another 4-5 days. Municipal Corporation officials are facing a daunting task to address the looming drinking water crisis in the city.
“Gajuladinne Project has 0.6 TMC of water and this meagre supply is needed to cater to the drinking water needs of Dhone, Krishnagiri, Pathikonda and other neighbouring mandals. However, we are drawing some 40 cusecs of water to cater to the needs of Kurnool city to some extent, but we are in no position to help the rural areas. Hopefully, the RWS department comes with some alternative solution,” an official from irrigation department told TNIE.
The scarcity has sent drinking water price through the roof in the city. “What should have been free, we are forced to buy. For a pot of water, we have to pay `15,” said M Ayyanna, a resident of Geeta Mukherjee Nagar.
The water supplied by Kurnool Municipal Corporation once or twice a week for one hour is used sparingly by residents. “What can we do? It has become a precious commodity. I am used to bathing twice as I sweat profusely during working hours. But today, even daily bath has become a luxury,” rued K Venkataramudu, a hamali, of Weaker Sections Colony.
According to municipal officials, the city needs a minimum of 70 million liters per day, but the existing water in Sunkesula and Gajuladinne Project is hardly enough to meet the demand. Hence, civic officials are forced to supply only 67 million liters once or twice a week.
Meanwhile, the situation is only getting worse in rural areas in the Kurnool parliament constituency. The Low Level Canal of Tungabhadra from Hollagunda village down to Kurnool city has all but dried up. Experts say that the long dry spell and overexploitation of water coupled with pilferage along the canals is resulting in decrease in water levels in the reservoirs in the district.
They say linking HNSS with Gajuladinne could be a permanent solution to the drinking water crisis .