“Authorities must check illegal tapping of water using pumps”

Summer has become synonymous with drinking water scarcity. While the Public Works Department and the Madurai Municipal Corporation are perplexed over the depleting water level in reservoirs, residents want the authorities to soften the blow by streamlining the supply through better planning.

With a view to preventing indiscriminate storage of tap water by using motor pump sets, people affected by this illegal practice want the authorities to suspend power supply when water is supplied from the huge overhead water tanks in every locality. Their grouse is that the privileged sections of the society — those living in big houses, apartment complexes, big restaurants and hotels – route the water supplied by the civic body into their overhead tanks through their sumps.

Saravanan of B.B.Kulam says: “Our place is thickly populated. Every household has a manual hand pump to draw water.

Though the civic authorities claim that water is supplied for two hours, it takes 10 to 15 minutes of pumping to fill even a pot — all because of illegal pumping of water.”

Echoing his view, Arockiam of Bharathiar Street in Jaihindpuram says: “While we wake up as early as 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. to get tap water, those using motor pumps deprive us of our share. The Corporation authorities should put an end to this practice.”

The scenario is no different in Sellur, Aruldosspuram and other places. Residents complain of thin flow of water. Mary of Sellur 50-Feet-Road says the meagre water she gets after pumping hard was just insufficient.

If it’s bad in Sellur, the situation seems to be worse in K. Pudur extension areas such as Karpaga Nagar. “Many big and independent houses illegally pump water through motors. The ‘Beware of dog’ boards put in front of such houses discourage officials from stepping into them for surprise checks.

The only solution is to suspend power when water is supplied” — this is the popular opinion of many city residents .

Raghavan of Gomathipuram says: “Only for namesake we are in Corporation limits. The Corporation water tanker lorries arrive without notice and any fixed schedule. They are of no use to us. We don’t know where to complain. Earlier there used to be a dedicated telephone number to make complaints.”

But the officials maintain that sinking new borewells in as many as 500 locations will solve the water problem.

But whether there will be enough groundwater for the new borewells to meet the growing needs of this large city remains to be seen.

Less rainfall

Collector L. Subramanian told reporters four days ago that drinking water needs would be taken care of by utilising the State disaster relief fund and steps were being taken since January to face the summer water crisis. But the problem lies elsewhere — poor rainfall.

According to officials, against the normal rainfall of 874.5 mm, the district recorded only 590.95 mm in 2013, a shortfall of 283.55 mm.

During the northeast monsoon the district received 233.27 mm against the normal rainfall of 406.9 mm. In 2012, the district received only 535.43 mm.

A glance at the rainfall received in Madurai district from 2001 to 2013 shows that only in four years it was good.

2001: 711.76 mm; 2002: 808.95 mm.; 2003: 752.60; 2004: 851.50 mm; 2005: 1205.75 mm; 2006: 817.18 mm; 2007: 828.37 mm; 2008: 985.78 mm; 2009: 762.67 mm; 2010: 1159.83 mm; 2011: 999.20 mm; 2012: 535.43 mm; and 2013: 590.95 mm.

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