KOCHI: Ernakulam district which received normal rainfall during the southwest and northeast monsoon seasons is reeling under water shortage even before the onset of summer. Kochi city and suburbs are also water-deficient. The water scarcity has forced the District Collector Muhammed Y Safirulla to rein in agencies that tap water for drinking purposes on a commercial basis from unauthorized sources. The Collector has ordered action after he received several complaints from different quarters on exploitation of water sources.Water from abandoned quarries, canals and private wells are being tapped and sold for drinking.
The Collector has also ordered cleaning of the Periyar Valley and Muvattupuzha Valley canals and releasing water from them to the eastern regions of the state. “The situation has eased for the time being due to the release of the water and closing of the shutters in the Bhuthathankettu dam. But we have to remain vigilant as the real summer is still two months away”, said Antony John, Kothamangalam MLA. Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden said that areas in his constituency were reeling under severe shortage, especially Vaduthala, Pachalam, Chittor and Cheranellore areas.
“The Kerala Water Authority which is supposed to tackle it is not doing its job properly and the KWA system is not effective. For Kochi city area, the drinking water pumping is mainly done from Thammanam and Pachalam pump houses of KWA, but it is done only on alternate days. Enough drinking water is also not pumped from the Aluva pumping station of KWA. In fact the demand for a dedicated powerline for drinking water supply has so far not been met. So there are a lot of disruptions in drinking water supply,” said Hibi Eden.
Hibi said that the commissioning of the Maradu JNNURM drinking water scheme has been the only silver lining because of which places like Thevara got drinking water. “Even that scheme which is supposed to pump 100 mld water is functioning only up to 50 percent of its capacity,” Hibi added. An expert pointed out that people should make conscious use of water in due to the scarcity.
According to Indian Meteorological Department data, Ernakulam district received 2002.9 mm rains during the June-September southwest monsoon period this year as against the long-term average of 2065 mm. The district received 539 mm rains as against the long-term average of 489 mm during the northeast monsoon.
“It is a matter of concern that even after receiving normal rainfall the district is facing water scarcity”, said Philips Abraham, a wholesale dealer in grains in Ernakulam. The situation warranted conservation of the available water resources and a culture of using water in a judicious manner, he added.