Water level receding at Baje Dam; officials pin hope on rains
With the level of water fast declining in Baje Dam across Swarna River, Udupi city will have to brace for a drinking water crisis after May 26.
As of now, water is being supplied once in two days. Some areas in the city such as Prabhakar Layout in Kakkunje and Santosh Nagar are not getting water. Udupi municipality is supplying water to these areas through tankers. There was a severe drinking water scarcity last year during April and May. Accumulation of silt in Baje Dam was also blamed for the scarcity last year. This year, the Udupi municipality took up the removal of silt in January and February so that more water could be stored in the dam.
Last month, the municipality also took the step of supplying water once in two days so that the stock of water would last till June.
But the scorching summer has ensured that no water in the Shiroor dam (in Shiroor village, about 20 km from Udupi) built across Swarna River under the Swarna Second Stage Drinking Water Project.
The water level in Baje Dam (about 12 km from Udupi) is 2.46 metres now. According to CMC Commissioner Gokuldas Nayak, “The water level is expected to decline to two metres in the Baje dam in the next 10 days. If that happens, the water supply to the city will be affected.”
The municipality would then be left with no alternative but to install water pumping machines in some boats and pump water from those areas in the river, which have water to the dam, where water is purified and supplied to the city. “By doing so, we can manage to supply water to the city for about two weeks. Hopefully, by then monsoon will hit Udupi,” Mr. Nayak said.
Another factor that has affected the flow of water in Swarna River is the lack of rain in the catchment area in April. The river flows through Karkala taluk to Udupi.
Last year, Karkala taluk received 87 mm of rain in April, this year it received no rain at all. “This has added to the problem”, Mr. Nayak said.
Kumara, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said: “If the rains come by May 26, things will proceed smoothly; otherwise there will be some disruption in water supply”.