Severe water shortage in many areas; officials seek release of PAP water

Most parts of the district are facing an acute shortage of drinking and irrigation water, with the drying up of its major water sources.

There is a scramble for drinking water, supplied in tanker lorries, in Chittur, the worst-hit taluk. More grama panchayats are increasingly relying on such lorries.

Many parts of the district, particularly rain shadow areas of Chittur taluk such as Vadakarapathy, Erithyampathy, and Kozhinjampara and the 745 sq km stretch of the Attappady tribal belt, are reeling under severe drought.

Rivers, reservoirs, ponds, and wells have dried up because of the failure of the southwest monsoon. Summer rain too kept away this time.

The inter-State Joint Water Regulatory Board (JWRD) has asked the State government to request the Tamil Nadu government to release water from the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) till May 31 to replenish drinking water sources in the Chitturpuzha basin.

PAP agreement

As per the PAP agreement, water is not released from April 1 to May 15. “But, due to the severe summer this year, unless water is released to the Chitturpuzha, all the drinking water sources will dry up,” said Sudheeer Padikkal, Deputy Director, JWRD. He said a request was sent to the State government on April 11 for immediate intervention.

Additional 100 cusecs water must be released at the Manacadavu weir to meet the drinking water requirement in the Chittur basin, he added.

Meanwhile, Vadakarapathy grama panchayat president Senthamari T.M. said on Wednesday that District Collector K. Ramachandran had been requested to supply drinking water in tanker lorries in Kanakkalam, Kalliyanpara, and Attayanpathy where borewells had dried up.

Scene in Malampuzha

Water in Malampuzha dam, the State’s largest irrigation dam, was released twice recently to save the drinking water sources of the Bharathapuzha.

Now the dam is left only with enough water meet the needs of Palakkad municipality and the six adjoining grama panchayats, according to Irrigation Department officials.

In the Attappady tribal heartland, Pudur and Sholayur grama panchayats are in the grip of severe drought. Rivers and streams have dried up, leading to acute water shortage in 70 of the 100 tribal hamlets in the two local bodies. The Agali grama panchayat is also facing drinking water shortage.

The tribal people used to collect water from the rivulets and streams originating from the forests. Since all these water sources have dried up, they now travel kilometres to collect water from the Bhavani river flowing to Tamil Nadu through the Attappady Hills.

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