CHENNAI: Micromanagement of combined water supply schemes, reviving abandoned water resources and firm action to nip illegal connections have helped State authorities effectively tackle potable water shortage during the time of severe drought.
With Tamil Nadu reeling under unprecedented drought triggered by the failure of monsoons, the concerned authorities huddled together to chalk out a strategy to ensure potable water supply to all households throughout the State without hiccups.
Top priority was accorded to the water supply by directing local bodies to channelise all their funds to the schemes. A thorough survey was conducted on the working of combined water supply schemes, the number of households, commercial and industrial connections and the frequency with which water flowed into pipes. Based on the data collected, the water managers swung into action to augment potable water supply.
“Micromanagement of water supply through a detailed analysis helped us cut down the number of days taken to supply water. As a result, the households could get water within a short period,” Dr K Satyagopal, Commissioner for Revenue Administration (CRA) told Express.
Explaining the measures taken to augment water supply, he claimed that in Usilampatti, potable water was supplied once in 25 days but it was cut down to five days now.
The households in Coimbatore could get supply in five days now against 12 days while Kovilpatti and Aruppukottai could get potable water once in 6-8 days against 15-18 days earlier, the CRA informed.
As many as 1.25 lakh illegal connections stealthily pumping in water were found and disconnected. The violators included farmers, households and industries.
With more funds being pooled in to augment potable water supply, the authorities took up source augmentation by giving priority to establish bore wells, ring wells and converting abandoned wells into recharge pits.
Satyagopal said: “All the major reservoirs that are feeding the water supply schemes were brought under the scanner for the illegal tapping of water. In several places, illegal tapping was arrested to ensure that water released for drinking purposes could reach the desired destinations.”
The sporadic showers during winter and summer also came handy to the water managers to tide over the paucity of potable water.
During January-February, the State received 39 mm rains against the normal quantum of 31 mm while during March, April and up to May 11, the amount of rainfall recorded was 74.6 mm against the normal amount of 83 mm.
With the prospects of more showers in the days to come, the authorities look hopeful of tackling drinking water shortage effectively.
All major reservoirs to be desilted
The drought, with severe consequences, also served as an eye-opener to the authorities concerned. Kudimaramath, the trusted, inclusive practice of restoration/rehabilitation of water bodies, has been brought back with massive investments.
The Tamil Nadu government has decided to carry out desilting work in all the 66 reservoirs including the 12 which bounteously provide water for drinking purposes
Removal of silt from the water bodies will help increase the storage level on the one hand and on the other, it will improve the soil health in the land where silt is utilised. The government has identified a total of 42,649 water bodies with silt deposit to be removed across the State.