The hoteliers in the famed beach resort of Kovalam and the adjoining Chowara and Poovar are in a fix as the domestic tourism season has touched its peak. With the taps going dry, water level in wells going down, and authorities intensifying the crackdown on private tanker lorries selling water, the hoteliers are running helter-skelter to arrange water.

Apart from the local residents, the hotels, resorts and restaurants in the Thiruvallom-Kovalam-Chowara-Poovar belt had been hit by the shortage of water. Queries from tourists about the scarcity of water have already figured in the travel guides and research websites referred by the travellers to get authentic information.

Quality concerns

With the existing drinking water project of the Kerala Water Authority unable to meet the demand of the tourism industry, the hotels and resorts depend on wells and private tanker lorries for meeting their water requirements. There are concerns and doubts over the quality of water supplied by the tanker lorries. The crackdown on the private tanker lorries over the last few days have put the stakeholders of the tourism industry in a tight spot.

“The situation is that even if you pay money, you cannot get water through the private tanker lorries from Vellayani and nearby areas. It is not feasible to bring water in tankers all the way from Aruvikkara. The tourists, who are concerned about the health and hygiene conditions, are concerned about holidaying in Kovalam,” says R. Soman, vice-president, Kovalam Tourism Protection Council.

Eight contractors based in Venganoor and Kovalam cater to the water needs of the hotels and resorts by making available water from the Vellayani lake. Sources said water was drawn from the lake mainly from Kakkamoola, Muttakkad and Koliyoor. In addition, the contractors collected water from the wells on the premises of houses at Panangode, Veniyooor and Azhakulam, the catchment areas of the Vellayani lake. With the locals objecting to the collection of water from the lake and individual houses, the hotels and resorts are in search of other options to meet the requirements.

Hotels and resorts purchase water by paying 10 paise a litre and many of them claim that they have installed filters. It is estimated that there are 7,000 hotel rooms in the Thiruvallom-Kovalam-Chowara-Poovar belt. As per international norms, a guest in a hotel uses 300 litres of water a day.

The hoteliers are pinning their hope on the proposed Rs.15 crore drinking water scheme for Kovalam. “Only the Kerala Water Authority will be able to find a permanent solution to the water crisis,” says G. Sudhiesh Kumar, hotelier and president of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association.

Keywords: water shortage