To avoid restriction in water supply

Rain over the past two days has brought some relief for the Kerala Water Authority (KWA), with its officials now hoping that a prolonged wet spell will obviate the need for a restriction in water supply and help them drop a highly ambitious Rs.3.2-crore proposal to draw water from the Neyyar dam to the Aruvikkara reservoir.

The authority, which has in-principle approval from the government to go ahead with Neyyar dam proposal, has received with relief the news that the water level in the Peppara dam has gone up from 96.85 metres above mean sea level on Thursday to 97.5 metres on Friday.

As this roughly translates to only an additional two days of water supply from the earlier calculation of 35 days, officials have their hopes pinned on the monsoon. The fluctuating levels and the danger of the rain staying away can be gauged from the fact that on Tuesday, the water level was pegged at 98.6 metres. K.P. Krishnakumar, KWA Chief Engineer (South), said if the rain continued with the same gusto for another two weeks, the proposal for water from the Neyyar dam could be put aside. At the same time, with water from the Neyyar dam barely sufficient for 40 days, what would be done if it did not rain remained a dilemma.

Distribution loss

The current situation, another senior official said, could have been avoided to a large extent if the KWA had looked at efficient methods to prevent distribution loss of water, which, recent studies show, stood at about 35 to 40 per cent. Analysis of billing details put the same beyond 50 per cent, which meant that the KWA, while searching for water to manage undisrupted supply, would have to look for nearly double the required quantity. Even from the Neyyar dam, nearly 40 mld could be pumped in daily, but only 30 mld was expected to reach the consumers.

Mr. Krishnakumar said the authority had been on the job of trying to reduce distribution losses, accentuated by defunct water meters and water thefts, with the help of a Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission project. The aim, by replacing old and leaking pipes and installing new meters, was to bring down the losses to the globally accepted level of 15 to 20 per cent.

However, the slow pace of the job is evident from the fact that in the past one year, only 15,000 of the nearly 45,000 faulty meters, out of a total of over two lakh meters in the city, have been replaced.

The KWA is expected to take a final decision on the proposal in a week’s time after seeing how the clouds behave.