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Saving water bodies the need of the hour

Staff Reporter
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Harvesting rainwater falling on rooftops to recharge open wells has improved fresh water availability

Crisis:Pallikkulam, a pond in Thrissur, which has been reduced to a sludge tank.
Crisis:Pallikkulam, a pond in Thrissur, which has been reduced to a sludge tank.

As water crisis keeps getting worse with each passing year in the city, there is a growing demand for conservation of water bodies in the corporation limits. This downward trend isn't easy to reverse, but some sort of start has to be made, say environmentalists.

Though Thrissur Corporation is home to more than 100 ponds and 500-odd open wells, surveys reveal that most of the households depend on Corporation’s drinking water supply for daily needs.

The ponds, including those attached to temples, were used for bathing, washing and irrigation till recently.

As ecological sanctuaries, they conserved rainwater and helped maintain groundwater table.

But most of these water bodies have been continually neglected and are polluted. “Many have either dried up due to silting or have been converted into garbage dumps and sludge tanks,” said Jos Raphael, team leader of Mazhapolima, a rain-water harvesting programme in the district.

Encroachment

Pallikkulam near the East Fort, which was a rich water source, is an example.

People suspect the hands of real estate mafia behind turning it into a sludge tank.

The lands adjoining to it have been encroached upon, they allege. Another example is Vanchikkulam, a waterway that once linked Thrissur to Kochi.

Meanwhile, Thrissur Collector P. M. Francis said the open wells at the government institutions in the district would be recharged at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh from the District Innovation Fund under the ‘Mazhapolima’ project.

Mazhapolima, a community-driven open well recharging programme using rainwater, has proved a cost-effective solution for water crisis. More than 10,000 wells have been recharged in the district under the project.

Harvesting rainwater falling on rooftops to recharge open wells has vastly improved fresh water availability.

The project has been successfully implemented in many areas in the district including Adattu, Thiruvilwamala, Pananchery, Mullurkara, Thekkumkara, Varavur and in Kodungalloor block, an area where severe exploitation of groundwater was reported.

Harvesting rainwater falling on rooftops to recharge open wells has vastly improved fresh water availability.

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