KOCHI: Despite Ernakulam district receiving excess rainfall last year, many parts of the district have started experiencing acute water shortage. Water level in wells and rivers has depleted causing concern among residents.
As per the report prepared by the Office of Deputy Director of Panchayat, 37 panchayats in the district are facing acute drinking water shortage. Grama panchayats mainly located on the outskirts of the city are suffering.
They include Alangadu, Kottappadi, Kottuvalli, Mazhuvannur, Udayamperoor, Eroor and Keezhmadu panchayats.
“Though we are getting drinking water through Virippakadu, Noolezhi and Periyar projects, it is not sufficient to meet our needs. People are forced to buy water from private parties. Irregular pumping of water due to power disruption is also a reason for shortage” said M K Venu, panchayat president, Kottappadi.
Panchayat officials confirmed that natural drinking water sources were witnessing a dip in water levels even before the onset of summer. Farmers are also expecting crop loss due to non-availability of water as water level in the Periyar is reducing each day.
“The recent flood deposited sand and mud in the river, reducing its capacity to hold water. So far, we are facing acute drinking water shortage. The situation may turn worsen,” said Mohammed Shahi, executive engineer, Ernakulam.He said sand mining along the river needed to be carried out with immediate effect.
The Assembly Committee on Petitions’ decision to source drinking water from hydrants of the Kerala Water Authority also causing hardships to the local bodies.
“It is the responsibility of the local bodies to bear the expenses incurred for supplying drinking water. Since KWA hydrants are not located adjacent to the panchayat, the local bodies are forced to spend a hefty amount on transportation of water. If we are allowed to take water from the traditional source, we can distribute sufficient water from nearby areas,” president of one of the panchayats had said at the District Development Committee meeting last week.
District Collector S Suhas said a meeting will be conducted to monitor and ensure sufficient drinking water supply to people.
“The demand to use water from natural sources can be considered only after reviewing the order issued by the assembly committee. Proper steps will be taken to avoid any drinking water shortage,” Suhas said.