Only 27 water sources can be used for drinking purposes

Ernakulam Collector P. I. Sheikh Pareed has banned distribution of drinking water collected from open sources, including the Periyar. And, effective from Wednesday, only 27 sources of water identified by the Health authorities can be utilised for drawing drinking water. No water should be collected in tankers after 10 p.m.

These decisions were taken at a meeting convened by the Collector on Tuesday in the wake of water-borne communicable diseases like hepatitis being reported from various parts of the district. The Health authorities had found reported use of contaminated water by people for their domestic use. It was also decided to confiscate the tankers that are found to carry contaminated water.

The Department of Water Resources' reservoirs at Aluva, Choondi, Thammanam, Paravur are among the identified sources of water. Besides, the department would also make available 1,000 litres of water at Rs. 30. The water tanker lorries will by allowed to ply in the day time except between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Arrangements would be made to remit the water charges at the respective offices of the Water Resources department. People can also remit water charges in advance. Water tankers need to be brought on their own. The Department of Water Resources and Revenue will also be distributing water to places that are facing extreme water shortage.

The District Administration had brought out the rules and regulations last February that need to be followed by the water tankers and the resource owners. As a follow-up, the Collector has ordered a joint squad of police-RTO-Revenue department to inspect the upkeep of the water resources.

Tanker lorries carrying drinking water needs to be differentiated from that carrying water for constructions. Those buying water also need to ensure that they are getting drinking water. The tanker lorries should carry receipts of the source and the time at which the water was loaded.

Mr. Pareed has asked the Health department to submit weekly reports of inspection at all the identified water resources. There are about 400 tankers distributing water in the district.

Deputy Police Commissioner T. Gopalakrishna Pillai, RTO T. J. Thomas, district medical officer R. Sudhakaran and other district-level officers took part in the meeting.

Meanwhile the Corporation is yet to initiate steps on its own to check the distribution of contaminated water through tanker lorries. “We have been told that the Department of Health has already started checking and so we are not launching a parallel drive at the moment. But we are ready to cooperate to any joint initiative as suggested by the State government,” Mayor Tony Chammany told The Hindu.

On their part, the Corporation is ensuring that the water it supplies to different parts of the city is sourced only from the Aluva pumping line of the Kerala Water Authority.

The civic body is making nearly 45 trips of 5,000-litre-tankers and 12-trips of 10,000-litre-tankers to different parts of the city, as demanded by councillors.

“The move to collect water for supply only from the KWA supply line was taken after reports of contaminated water being supplied nearly eight months ago,” he said.

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