Water in reservoirs will last only till first week of June
The capital city is slowly moving towards being perennially on the edge when it comes to drinking water even as there are options that could ease the situation a bit.
The Peppara dam, the sole source of water for the city as of now, has been affected by the continuing drought and the scorching sun, with water levels falling to 98.7 m on Sunday. Kerala Water Authority (KWA) managing director Ashok Kumar Singh says this would suffice to quench the city’s thirst for about 55 days. With the Aruvikkara reservoir holding adequate water only for seven days, the drinking water needs of the city were expected to be taken care of till the first week of June. After that, it would all depend on how the rain gods answer the prayers of the KWA.
“One week of rain in between might help us prolong that,” Mr. Singh said.
At the same time, the drought has been severe in areas surrounding the capital city. Neyyattinkara, in particular, is finding it difficult to handle the situation with the water sources near areas served by the Parassala water supply scheme drying up. Efforts are on to draw water from the Neyyar dam, but there too, levels have dipped drastically. From tanker-lorry supply to sinking bore-wells and extensions from existing water sources, various drought-mitigation measures are being initiated.
Back in the city meanwhile, the KWA has been dealt with another blow in its efforts to take the city’s drinking water position to a more comfortable level by raising the storage capacity of the Peppara dam.
Stringent opposition from environmentalists and the still pending approval of the State Wildlife Board have forced the authority to put the proposal on the back burner again.
As per the initial proposal of the KWA, the level was to be raised to 110.5 m from the existing 104.5 m, which meant that 267 hectares of forestland and nine islands would be submerged. An alternative proposal was suggested by the Forest Department, which limited the height to 107.5m, which, in turn, would restrict the submergence to 107 ha. But the Wildlife Board was yet to clear this as well, and in case it finally came, approval from the Centre would be another hurdle.
Under such conditions, KWA officials say the city’s sad plight is likely to continue for a few more years.