KORAPUT: Water scarcity has assumed alarming proportion in Koraput district. With rise in the mercury level, water bodies in various villages of the district have dried up, adding to the woes of locals.
As many as 800 ponds were dug up under different schemes in 14 blocks of the district in the last one decade. Of these, 500 ponds had water in them till February end. Gradually, as the temperature rose last month, the water bodies completely dried up. In another 100 ponds, there is very low water level. For people of many villages under Jeypore, Kotpad, Kundra and Borrigumma blocks, ponds are the main source of water.
Under these circumstances, tribal women are forced to go to the forests to collect water from streams.
Locals said this is the first time, ponds are drying up completely. Usually, ponds in the Upper Kolab ayacut areas had good water level even during the summer. “The rising temperature is the primary reason behind drying up of the ponds even in irrigation canal catchment areas,” said Rajani Mishra, a senior engineer of the Upper Kolab Project.
Ponds were earlier renovated for retention of water during summer by either block authorities or village committees, but no steps were taken up this year. Sukria Pradhan, a social activist, said the condition of all water bodies should have been reviewed earlier so that renovation works could be carried out.