The days that the Peppara Dam has remained the sole water source for the capital city, a situation that has led to many a crisis when water-levels in the dam dipped, are likely to be over soon with three other drinking water sources for the city being identified.
The identification of new water sources is part of the State Water Resources Department’s project to have at least two sources for every district’s water supply scheme, and in Thiruvananthapuram, the sources that have been identified are the Vamanapuram river, the Karamana river and the Vellayani freshwater lake.
The idea is to construct dams/reservoirs or check dams or similar systems, depending on the topography, and link the same to the city’s distribution system, ensure recharging and protection of these water sources, and prevent misuse of the water apart from preventing pollution of the same.
Still in the initial planning stages, the project is likely to see the government asking the Irrigation Department to consider changing the Vamanapuram Irrigation Project, which has remained on paper even after four decades, into a water supply scheme and to construct a dam there. The Vamanapuram river, as of now, caters to only the Varkala and Attingal water supply schemes. With the city’s horizons widening towards Chenkottukonam, and Technocity and allied developments coming up in the region, the geographical proximity of the Vamanapuram river to that region is being seen as a plus point.
As for the Karamana river, the plan is to draw water from upstream Karamana, from near Bonacaud, where pollution is minimal. Though the idea is yet to be discussed, the possibility of removing the sand deposits upstream of Peppara, after considering environmental concerns, to enable more flow of water downstream, is also likely to be examined, official sources told The Hindu.
The case of the Vellayani lake could depend on the proposed restoration and conservation projects for the lake.
The Assembly Committee on Environment, chaired by K.P. Nooruddin, had suggested immediate restoration measures for the lake way back in 1992, pointing out that the lake had then itself ceased to be a freshwater lake literally. However, 20 years later, little has happened apart from several projects being announced. With the lake being identified as one of the potential water sources for the city — it currently provides water to a few panchayats in the Vizhinjam-Kovalam region and a few wards of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation — the projects were likely to receive some momentum, the officials said.