In a shocking discovery, 23 hosepipes, used for water theft, were found hanging inside a leaking valve chamber of the water supply pipeline at Mulavukad. The cemented chamber was covered by orchard netting to hide the hose pipes.
Officials in the Non-Revenue Water Management (NRWM) and anti-theft unit of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) suspect that each pipe is connected to a motor set and more than 23 households could be drawing water from them. They also believe that the leak was deliberately created to facilitate the water supply. Water overflows the chamber during pumping time.
The valve chamber had a proper cover, which was removed to facilitate the connection of pipes and hoses into the chamber.
Sources in the KWA said that an estimated one million litres of water was being lost at this point in the pipeline.
The water is pumped from the Vaduthala pump house through the high density polyethylene (HDPE) water supply pipeline for Vypeen islands.
The deep set 630-mm width pipe carrying water through the backwaters to the main area of supply has a valve chamber inside a manhole at strategic places. These valves are necessary in the supply line to drain water at the time of repair and maintenance.
Sources in the KWA believe that the distribution network is likely to be aware of the theft. However, no action has been taken to stop it. The sources said that people could have resorted to theft because of lack of proper water supply in the area.
“If there was a shortfall, supply could be given from this pipeline itself. This would help KWA to earn the revenue too. Moreover, arrangements for such theft could not have been done without officials in KWA knowing about it, alleged an official in the KWA.
There were incidents of water flowing out of the air valve at Pullepady some time ago.
Though the officials had claimed to have repaired the valve during the recent shutdown last week, it continues to leak with a sack covered over it to hide the leak.
A senior official in KWA said the water leaking through the air valve could not be stopped completely. Repair work was taken up and the leak has been minimised, he said.
It is believed that a report on the theft at Mulavukad has been submitted to the head office recently.