With both natives and tourists in the Queen of Hills complaining that the weather in Ooty is warmer than normal, officials are a worried lot.
While a few summer showers in the region could help cool the tourist spot, officials say if the dry weather continues for the next two weeks, the month of May is likely to be very hot.
This could make life difficult for the locals and visitors during the peak tourist season that begins next month. This could also spell doom for the region that depends largely on tourism as many of the important fests such as the Summer Festival, Flower, Rose, Vegetable, Spices and Fruit Shows begin in the first week of May and extend till the last week of the month. The water situation has also been giving locals sleepless nights.
Many house owners, who have been using wells and borewells for the past two to three decades, are shocked to see the water level touching rock bottom for the first time in the last 20 years.
Several have been forced to sink new bore wells for the first time and in several places it has been difficult to get water even at the depth of 100 feet.
The main reason believed to be the reason for the groundwater level dropping is the failed southwest and northeast monsoons last year. Though Ooty municipal engineer B Ramamoorthy has repeatedly said the water situation could be managed this summer, the municipality has, however, reduced the supply to households and is distributing water by lorry in several main parts of the town. This step has been taken to effectively regulate the use of water and ensure that an adequate amount is stored for the month of May, when a huge crowd is expected in the tourist spot.
In the last ten days the hill station has been experiencing unusually high temperatures which has been hovering between 25 and 28 degree Celsius.
On the unusually high temperature in the hill station, senior citizen R Ramalingam said, “Normally we use at least three blankets in the night to keep warm, but for the past 10 days, it we require not more than one blanket.”
With daytime temperatures high, people do not have to wear sweaters.
If the region fails to receive rains, the temperature is expected to increase up to 30 degree Celsius in the days to come.