But for daily needs residents of Cheriyathuruthi islet has to rely on a single, occasionally malfunctioning pipeline.

Beside the quiet-flowing Kadalundi river is the small rented house of Rajan.

For the people of Kadalundi panchayat, the spot is familiar as Cheriyathuruthi, an islet close to the estuary. Tourists are seen lapping up the picturesque environs. But, residents do not seem share the enthusiasm.

The 14 families staying there, including Rajan’s, are bothered about just one factor — potable water.

The families survive on water supplied, on alternate days, through a single pipe put up by the Kadalundi grama panchayat.

Long trek

If a family needs additional water, they will have to walk a few kilometres. Vehicles cannot enter the islet through the narrow bridge. So, water tankers are ruled out.

“Here we are very miserly in using water. All families have only limited water storage facility and somehow get by with the available supply. Even if a family is plans to improve storage, it will be vain as the pipe can malfunction any time,” says Rajan.

The residents have been placing hopes on rain water harvesting projects, which the local panchayat and the Centre for Water Resources Management initially supported. But, intrusion of saline water posed a huge hurdle.

As time passed, some of the rain harvesting plants became defunct, forcing the residents to depend on the meagre pipe water supply.

“I have been living here for the past five years, but have never seen this dome-like cistern function properly,” says Rajan pointing at the rain water harvesting plant near his house.

The last two days’ downpour has almost submerged the passage leading to the bridge between Kadalundi and the islet, making it difficult for the people to go outside and fetch drinking water.

“If the downpour continues with the strengthening monsoon, we will have to move out to safer locations,” Rajan adds.

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