KOCHI: It’s election time. The parties have dusted out their loudspeakers and have again begun regurgitating their ancient promises! The ground reality, however, as usual remains totally different. These promises are mere words that the politicians spout without any compunction or shame. The issues faced by those in the lower income group still remain. Accessibility to safe drinking water is one of the big issues faced by those in the lower income group in urban areas.
A water audit, for the city done by one of the private educational institutions, has found that well water in the city is highly contaminated with bacteria. “The distance between the drinking water source and the septic tank is less than seven meter for about 50 percent of the household in the city. In some parts of the city the KWA pipelines pass through drainage system,” says the survey report.
“Fifty two percent of the residents depend on Kerala Water Authority for water, of which 40 percent of people have no access to adequate drinking water or are not satisfied with the quality,” the result shows.
Members of three residents association and one colony had recently held a dharna before of the Kerala Water Authority office at Kadavanthara demanding safe drinking water. “We are not getting enough water to meet our daily needs even after the agitation,” says Nandakumar Menon, a resident of Punneth South Road residents association. He alleged that officials at KWA are ignoring the demands of the residents.
Thara Deleep, resident of Vikas Nagar said that we got water for four days after the protest but the quantity was not at all sufficient and on the fifth day the taps ran dry as before. “The pipe lines are laid through drains. This makes the probability of leakage and hence contamination of the drinking water very high. This makes the residents exposed to the threat of many waterborne diseases,” she added.
The residents of Pontanamkiri colony are getting dirty water that has foul smell and worms in it. People in the colony are depending on hand pumps to get water to meet their daily needs.
According to Lisa P Krishnan, assistant engineer, Kerala Water Authority the pipes laid in some areas area are old and rusted. The residents are waiting for the allocation of funds from the local MLA so as to use it for laying 1km long new connection. Dr E J James professor at Water Institute Karunya University while addressing Indian German water partnership day two weeks ago said that lack of proper sewage and solid waste management is a huge challenge faced by the city as well as the state in water resource management.
Corporation secretary V R Raju said, corporation has not noticed any issues regarding the supply of drinking water since it directly comes under KWA. The Corporation has limited role in water supply. To a certain extent the construction of metro might be a cause for pipe leakage.
“Several people have a wrong impression that water is the sole responsibility of Kerala Water Authority and local selfgovernment haslimited role in its management and conservation. Kochi Municipal Corporation too is responsible to ensure safe and sufficient water to its citizen. Kerala Water Authority is only a service provider and has no active role in governance,” said KWA officials.