Kochi: Drinking water supply to the city might be hit as there are chances for saline water intrusion into river Periyar, the major drinking water source of Kochi and the suburbs.
As the temporary sand bund constructed by the Irrigation Department, at Purappillikkavu, in Karumaloor, collapsed on Saturday, the saline water started entering the upstream during the high tide.
“On early Sunday morning, salinity in the river water was increased to 190 ppm (particles per million) during the high tide. Though permissible limit of salinity in raw river water is 250 ppm, pumping will be affected when salt content is escalated beyond 200 ppm, as the pump house has no facility for treating saline water,” said Anil, assistant engineer, Kerala Water Authority pump house, Aluva.
However, during the daytime on Sunday, presence of salt content was decreased to 15 ppm. “If additional water is not released from Bhoothathankettu dam, water supply might be hit during the high tide early morning,” added the KWA official.
If the sand bund is not repaired soon, it will result in increased salinity in river which will affect industrial units along Periyar which use river water and vast areas of agriculture, apart from drinking water supply to the city.
Meanwhile, there are allegations that the sand bund collapsed due to neglect of the Irrigation Department authorities, constructing the bund. Though the bund construction was almost completed by December 26, dredging works have been continuing to increase the height of bund.
Local residents alleged that the bund caved in even when water level was low and it was due to the anomalies in construction that the structure collapsed.