Drought prompts KWA to explore new options

A continuing drought, rain gods who seem to be on a long holiday, and fast depleting water levels in the Peppara reservoir have prompted the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to start scouting for new water sources to meet the capital city’s requirements.

From the water level of 95.7 metres in June 2012, which itself was an all-time seasonal low, against the total capacity of 104.5 m, the levels in Peppara plummeted to 92.7 m as on Tuesday. Combined with the water in the Aruvikkara reservoir, this is likely to suffice for a supply of about 25 days. Though the KWA believes, or rather, hopes, that it could rain in between and save the day for them, Managing Director Ashok Kumar Singh has already sent his men out to look for new and alternative sources of water.

While one idea the KWA is toying with is the installation of hand pumps or bore wells in residential areas, after one residents’ association came up with the idea of having one such pump or well for every 10 houses. Another option is to check out how the Vamanapuram river and other waterbodies in that region can be used to tackle emergency situations in the district.

Check-dam

While this does not mean that the long-pending Vamanapuram Irrigation Project might get a fresh lease of life, the possibilities of having a check-dam constructed to draw water from the river are being examined.

“As of now, the river is underutilised with water being taken only for the Varkala and Attingal water supply schemes. We are conducting studies to see how the river can be used in emergency situations for requirements of the capital city,” Mr. Singh said.

Reverse osmosis plants

Meanwhile, procedures to hand over contracts to set up seven desalination/reverse osmosis plants on the Thiruvananthapuram coast are in the final stage. The sites identified for the plants are Veli, Pozhiyoor, the Muthalapozhi Harbour site, Vettukad, Poovar, Anchuthengu, and Puthiyathura. The plants, according to Mr. Singh, could become functional in two to three months once the contracts were awarded. These could solve the water crisis along the coastline to some extent.