As major parts of the city face water shortage, wet blanket on festival

If there was something that was scarce for this year’s Vishu festival in the city, it was water. Faced with depleting water sources, households in a major part of the city battled water scarcity with their taps running dry during Kerala’s festival of plenty.

The city alone requires 160 million litre per day (MLD), a demand that will be hard to meet with one of the district’s perennial water source — Punoor river — fast drying up.

“Go look at the Punoor river… it has almost hit the bottom,” Hameed M., Executive Engineer, Kerala Water Authority (KWA), Kozhikode, said on Monday.

One-third

KWA officials said a major water source for the city — Kuttiyadi irrigation canal — is only providing one-third of its usual quota this summer.

The water from the canal makes its way through the Kakkodi branch canal into the Muzhikkal-Poolakadavu pumping station for distribution.

Just 10 cm

“But this time, the level of water coming from the Kuttiyadi canal is only 10 cm high instead of the usual 30 cm in the past years during summer months. This has affected water supply as we can only pump water for two or three hours instead of the regular pumping duration of 36 hours,” Mr. Hameed said.

For the past week, thickly populated areas in the city such as Vengeri, Ullas Nagar, C.H. Colony, Kottooli, and Malaparamba, are facing acute water shortage. Supply is either non-existent for days or at best erratic.

Informed the Minister

“We have already informed Social Welfare Minister M.K. Muneer and the District Administration about this crisis. Something has to be done quickly otherwise these areas will face continued water shortage,” Mr. Hameed said.

Adding to the KWA’s woes are repeated instances of leakage, causing further deprivation of drinking water to consumers.

“For the past two days, the pipe at Valiyangadi has been repeatedly broken by road work conducted by PWD through a contractor. Today we closed the valve as an emergency measure,” Mr. Hameed said.

Plans worth Rs.6 crore

The Kerala Water Authority had at the beginning of this year placed before the State government measures costing Rs.6 crore, both short-term and long-term, to revitalise water supply in the Kozhikode Corporation and the rural areas.

No permission

But the government has allowed only Rs.1.5 crore, that too for short-term proposals. No permission was given to any of the long-term proposals to revitalise water supply to the district.

The short-term proposals would focus on the improvement of water sources, pipe interconnection works, repair, and replacement of electrical items.

“We have already called for tenders to work on the short-term measures. This includes repairing the wells and building a bund at Poolakadavu, de-silting wells at Mavoor treatment plant, leak rectifications in the city water supply,” Mr. Hameed said.

The Rs.1.5-crore fund would be halved between repair works for Corporation areas and improving rural water supply system.

“We have plans to build at least 10 to 12 bunds in the rural parts of the district like Thiruvambady and Koodaranji, among others,” he said.

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