PALAKKAD: At a time when the state government is busy hiking the water tariff with a view to garner an additional tax of `260 crore, safe potable water remains out of reach for more than 65 per cent of the households in the state, says the report of the economic survey conducted by the Government of India.
The report also says that only 29.3 per cent of the houses in the state are serviced by tap water supply network. Of which, only 34 per cent gets safe water which is 52 per cent less than the national average, which is 86 percent and 57 and 59 per cent less than our neighbouring states Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which are 91 per cent and 93 per cent respectively. The total urban population getting safe water has been reduced from 42.85 in 2001 to 39.4 per cent in 2011.
The district-wise analysis shows that the highest contamination is in Kozhikode as 55 per cent of tested sources indicated bacterial and chemical contamination and Idukki experiences the lowest level.
Except Palakkad, the level of potable water is worsening in all other districts. The highest increase in quality affected district over previous year is Malappuram, where zero level of contamination was reported in 2012 and now 15 per cent of sources are contaminated. Kottayam and Kollam are also in a highly vulnerable position.
The situation is also worse in Kasargod. The people here get saline water through the pipes of Kerala Water Authority (KWA) during summer season. “The KWA supplies water from Chandragiri River. Saline water spills into the river sand, owing to storm surge, turning the water saline. The requests given to construct barrage across Chandragiri River to prevent saline water intrusion fell on deaf ears,” said environmentalist P Krishnan.
In Palakkad district, the people living in Muthalamada, Vadavathur, Elavanchery and Kollankod panchayats get muddy water through KWA pipes.
“It is from Meenkara dam we get potable water, but the dam has not been desilted for the last couple of decades. Hence, silt has been deposited at the bottom of the dam and people get water mixed with silt. A number of requests have been given in this regard but nothing has been done so far,” said Vandazhi panchayat president P V Krishnan.
Various drinking water projects implemented by the government have not been completed or is not in use now. Chakumkulam, Kuravlur, Tharoppadikal and Parakulam drinking water projects at places such as Kozhikode, Ponganpara drinking water project at Kottayam etc are some of the projects remaining uncompleted for years now.
In Kollam district, people living near Sasthamkotta Lake have been complaining that they have been getting coloured potable water through the pipes, because of which they stopped using it.
“Now we buy water in can for potable purposes and for non potable purposes we buy water on wheels. We spend `3,000 per month just to meet our water needs,” said Kishore K K, a resident near Chakuvally.