If everything goes well, six panchayats in Thrissur district will face no more shortage of drinking water for at least five years, thanks to the water management committees which are operational in these places.
In a novel initiative, Mala, Kadukutty, Pariyaram, Mattathur, Meloor and Koratty panchayats have formed village-level water management committees to evaluate the availability and usage of water in these areas.
The project is being implemented by River Research Centre, an NGO dedicated for the protection of rivers, with the active involvement of residents in these localities.
Moving a step forward, the organisation is also planning water budgeting and auditing in the six panchayats. It has also submitted the project to the government to replicate the same across the state. Water budgeting is an estimate of the harvest of water resources and its utilisation for a set period of time. It is a process to understand how much water is available to a specific region in various forms and from various sources and what is the actual water requirement based on the present scenario.
Latha Anantha, Director, River Research Centre said that village-level water management committees in the six panchayats have proved very effective for water preservation.
“Chalakkudy river was the major source of water for these panchayats. But many of the areas have witnessed severe drinking water shortage for the past several years.
Then, River Research Centre had put forward the proposal to start village-level water management committees with the active involvement of the residents.
Awareness has been created among residents regarding river protection and water conservation. The project has proved fruitful so far”, she added. In her opinion, village-level water management committees have to be formed across Kerala.
Experts point out that at a time when the water table is depleting in the entire state, local level action is the immediate remedy for the problem.
Schemes like MNREGS should be used effectively for the regeneration of rivers and protection of water bodies, they said.
Indira Shivaraman, Mala Panchayat President said that areas like Kolkunnu, Kankulam and Valiyaparambu had witnessed water scarcity in recent past but with the new initiative it could be solved to a large extent.