Work on the project that began in December 2010 hit a roadblock in the absence of a plot to erect an overhead water tank at Kottukonam.
The wait for a small plot of 14 cents is turning out to be an exasperating one for the residents of the Kunnathukal panchayat, tucked away between the hills along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.
The plot — and an overhead tank that will come up on it — will complete an Rs.18.5 crore-project to ensure smooth supply of drinking water to the panchayat.
The project was sanctioned in August 2008 as an augmentation project for the existing rural water supply scheme in the panchayat. Work for this began in December 2010, and was progressing without hiccups till it hit a roadblock in the absence of a plot to erect an overhead water tank at Kottukonam.
The rest of the work, according to panchayat president D. Laila, is almost completed. Distribution work on just 1.4 km remains to be done, and once the 14 cents is made available, the entire project could be finished in less than three months.
The project envisages drawing of water from the Pazhamalayar, a tributary of the Neyyar River, via the Perumkadavila village to a 5.5MLD water treatment plant on a 12-cent plot at Manavari.
Work on the road to the Manavari plant has been completed while that on the four-storeyed building that houses the pump and other accessories of the plant is nearing completion, Ms. Laila says. The treatment plant too is nearing completion.
The project, with a distribution network of 74km and to benefit at least 65,000 people (the figures are of 2008 and could be much higher now, according to panchayat officials), is one of the biggest such projects taken up in any panchayat in the district, officials say.
As of now, only 16 out of the 21 wards of the panchayat have water supply from the Kerala Water Authority. The rest manage with bore-wells and in times of need, a few water tankers as well.
The situation is quite miserable during summer, when all the wards have to depend on water tankers and the recent drought was one of the toughest that the panchayat faced.
The difference that the project will bring about, according to KWA officials, will be that the people will no longer have to be apprehensive about the quality of the water, since the water treatment plant will take care of the safety aspect.
The supply, too, will be much more smoother, covering the entire panchayat.