With the Raliah Dam, the main water source in Coonoor, now presenting a bone dry look and storage in other sources rapidly dwindling, residents are forced to cope with a very difficult situation.

“March winds and April showers bring forth the May rains”. Though for long The Nilgiris has gone by this saying, of late, the weather has not been in tune with the sequence. With the weather pattern so far this Summer also being out of tune with tradition, people belonging to various sections of the society here are getting worried.

Since the March winds were conspicuous by their absence, they are keeping their fingers crossed hoping that the April showers and May rains will not let them down.

The prolonged dry weather has not only made drinking water scarce but also parched farmlands and made forests tinder dry. With the situation in the forests, including the North-Eastern slopes and the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), now being conducive for the outbreak of bushfires, forest officials and environmentalists are of the view that only a couple of good showers can keep them at bay. Stating that even a single spark can cause considerable damage, conservationist P.J. Vasanthan told The Hindu here on Friday that water scarcity has made the sighting of wild animals, even leopards (normally a nocturnal carnivore), easy. Generally, leopards are not known for prowling around close to the main roads when the sun is well up in the sky.

Meanwhile, water scarcity has reached its nadir in Coonoor. With the Raliah Dam, the main water source in Coonoor, now presenting a bone dry look and the storage in other sources rapidly dwindling, the residents are forced to cope with a very difficult situation.

The Coonoor Consumer Protection Council has cautioned that if the water supply is not streamlined the people would not hesitate to boycott the Lok Sabha elections. Stating that in many areas water is being supplied only once in 25 days, council president S. Manogaran has sought the intervention of the district administration.

The Nilgiris Collector, P. Sankar, said that steps have been taken to install tanks in all the wards in order to mitigate the sufferings of the people. Sources in the horticulture department said that apart from fields with irrigation facilities farmlands in various parts of the district are wearing a water starved look.

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