A couple of months into the South West Monsoon, the Coimbatore Corporation is rich with water. Sources of three major water supply schemes – the Siruvani and Pilloor reservoirs – have water to the brim. The reservoirs are also overflowing.
This has left the Corporation with 200 million litres a day (MLD) to feed around 16 lakh residents. And this works out to roughly about 125 litres a day a resident. The Corporation has the 200 MLD from Siruvani, which contributes 98 MLD, and the two Pilloor schemes – Pilloor I gives 63 MLD and Pilloor II 41 MLD.
The civic body uses the water to serve the residents of the old city area – 60 wards – and also make good the deficit in a few added areas.
In addition to the aforementioned schemes, the Corporation also gets water from two other schemes – the Kavundampalayam-Vadavalli drinking water supply scheme, which has River Bhavani as the source and the Aliyar drinking water supply scheme, which caters to Kurichi, Kuniamuthur and areas south of the city.
In the Kavundampalayam-Vadavalli scheme, the Corporation is supposed to get 11.5 million litres a day from the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board but it gets 12 MLD. But under the Aliyar scheme, the civic body gets only 5.8 MLD. The requirement is around 7.5 MLD, though.
With surplus water, the Corporation has now started alternate day supply across the city. But a few pockets continue to be left out and most of those pockets are in the added areas – Thudiyalur, Chinna Vedampatti, Veerakeralam, Kurichi and a few other places. Within the city, the residents of SIHS Colony, Singanallur, also continue to suffer.
In Konavaikalpalayam (Ward 97), the residents get water only once in 18 days. And that too only for a duration of two-and-a-half hours. It is difficult to manage the 18 days with the water the Corporation supplies, rues P. Sudha, a home maker from the area.
Unlike other residents, she cannot rely on ground water because that is polluted and has been found unfit for use. “Given the circumstances, in the last three or four days of the supply cycle, the residents suffer the most.”
Veerakeralam resident K. Govindaraj’s suffering is no different from Sudha’s. He used to get water once in 20 – 25 days when the water crisis was at its peak. Now it has improved. “I get water once in 15 days,” he says.
Residents like him in Veerakeralam are forced to buy water to make up for the shortfall.
In SIHS Colony the situation is slightly better in that the residents get water once in 10 days. But at least the residents make up with ground water, says R. Sundararajan, a resident.
Sources in the Corporation say that the reason for difference in supply has to with the pipeline available in the area. This is true in the case of added areas, where the pipelines are old and were laid when the areas were part of village panchayats, or town panchayats or municipalities and the supply quantity was only 40 litres per capita a day or 70 litres per capita a day.
The Corporation standard of water supply is 135 litres per capita a day. The sources say that the Corporation is in the process of implementing various schemes to replace the pipelines. Once the pipeline width is taken care of, all the city’s residents will be able to get water at uniform intervals and there will be no disparity.
The Corporation plans to lay a conveying main pipeline from the Town Hall reservoir to Kurichi to meet shortfall in water supply from Aliyar scheme during power cuts. Once the Corporation replaces the pipelines, the entire city will be ready for the 24x7 water supply scheme.