KENDRAPARA: Residents of seaside villages are grappling with drinking water crisis this summer as excessive salinity in Luna river has rendered two saline water treatment (SWT) plants defunct in Mahakalapada block of Kendrapara district.
To desalinate Luna river water and provide drinking water to locals, the State government in 2017 had set up the two SWT plants in seaside villages of Gojabandha and Mangalpur.
Villagers were getting 40,000 litre of drinking water from the two plants. But last week, both the plants became defunct. This has spelt difficulties for people in Cherakani, Gojabandha, Gokhakhati, Satheabati, Madarangadia, Tentulikandha, Barakandha and other coastal villages as they now have to depend on tube-wells for drinking water which is unfit for consumption given the high levels of salinity.
“Two decades back, villages did not face any such issue. But excessive drawing of groundwater has led to salinity level increasing each passing year,” said Babaji Mandal, a 54-year-old farmer of Tentulikholi.
Another villager of Barakandha, Bijaya Behera, said,”Many tube-wells were dug up in the area but most are defunct now and villagers have to use contaminated water from ponds, rivers and other water bodies. Since our village Barakandha is very close to the sea, the salinity level in groundwater is also very high.”
Contacted, Junior Engineer of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) division in Mahakalpada, Subrat Sahoo said, “The salinity level in river Luna has increased in summer and this has made the water dense. The SWT plants became defunct as the desalination of the water exceeded their capacity. We dug 2,297 tube-wells in 31 panchayats in Mahakalpada block but salinity is a major problem in these seaside villages.”