On-field audit points out lack of conservation measures

A performance report on the conservation of water sources and water supply schemes in the city Corporation area, submitted in March, has found lapses on the civic body’s part, resulting in many of the waterbodies falling into disuse.

The on-field audit was carried out by a four-member team over a two-month period ending January 31.

According to records, there are 144 ponds in the Corporation area, but this number does not include the panchayats that were recently added to the Corporation. The local body also does not have any record of the water sources, including wells and rainwater holes, which is a violation of clause 416 of the Kerala Municipal Act. It has failed to chalk out a master plan for water distribution mapping of all the water sources in the city.

‘Futile work’

One of the key findings in the report is regarding the ‘futile’ renovation of the Kowdiar Tennis Club Enclave pond and the Alappuram pond at Muttada. The work to convert these ponds to boating clubs was carried out in 2008-09 at a cost of Rs.32 lakh and Rs.45 lakh, respectively. But, the audit report says, the work was taken up without a feasibility study on whether the ponds were suited for boating clubs, resulted in the failure of the projects.

Moreover, the rust from the unused boats is polluting the waterbodies now.

The audit report says the civic body has not done anything to conserve and revitalise the water sources in the Corporation area. In the past five years, only a few ponds in the city have been cleaned and conserved.

At Vattiyurkavu, the Avuthankodu pond and the Kariman pond are facing the threat of being filled up. At the Kariman pond, waste from houses is directly pumped into it through PVC pipes. These pipes were not removed even when partial renovation work was carried out at the pond a few years ago.

At Nemom, the Parekkode, Sivan Kovil, Madavilakam and Kolakudiyoorkonam ponds are in a neglected state, which, the auditors say, has caused the destruction of nearby paddy fields too.

‘Developmental activities and failure of waste treatment programmes’ are cited as the main reasons for the current state of these ponds. Many of these ponds have turned into waste dumps in the past few years.

At Ulloor, around half the area of the Kizhavankara pond is filled in for plantain cultivation. The Nandi pond at Vizhinjam is filled up using waste from a nearby construction site.

The auditors say the Sreevarahom and the Rishimangalam temple ponds are well-maintained with the help of the civic body’s recent conservation projects, but lesser-known temple ponds are ignored.