KOLLAM: Presence of iron bacteria in Sasthamkotta lake has disrupted the water distribution to Kollam Corporation and various adjacent panchayats in the district. The Kerala Water Authority has stopped sourcing water from the lake owing to complaints of discolouration. As an alternative, water from the Kallada Irrigation Project (KIP) canal is being pumped on alternate days to meet the water needs of the Corporation.
Meanwhile, only less than 15 million litres per day (MLD) is available for pumping from the canal while the demand is as high as 37.5 MLD. “The already depleted water in the Lake shows symptoms of the presence of iron bacteria in large quantities. The water samples have been sent for testing and will take another six days to get the culture result,” S. Sonia, assistant executive engineer, Sasthamkotta, told DC. The water from KIP canal and JICA project is being supplied to the Kollam Corporation on alternate days to meet the demand. Chavara, Panmana, Thevalakkara, Thekkumbhagom, Sooranad, West Kallada, Neendakara, and Sakthikulangara areas depend upon the water from KIP canal alone,” she added.
The water in Sasthamkotta Lake has slight red staining and develops precipitate and form while boiling. The filter house attached to the pumping unit has been cleaned and super chlorinated after the issue was noticed. The largest freshwater lake in the state is drying up at an alarming rate with nearly half of its total area of 3.73 square km turning dry, cracked land. Despite attempts including planting trees along its catchment area to maintain the already depleted lake, the water level is coming down at the rate of 50 cm each year. An alternative drinking water project to spare the dying lake from overexploitation is also under consideration by sourcing out water from the Kallada – Kadapuzha.