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Their only succour is beneath the ground

M. Balaganessin
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Water from tube wells set up to provide drinking water was not potable

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE:Even as 'World Water Day' is being observed on March 22, a villager collects water from a aquifer at Chettipattii village, about 18 km from Tiruchi on Friday.— PHOTO: A. MURALITHARAN
WATER WATER EVERYWHERE:Even as 'World Water Day' is being observed on March 22, a villager collects water from a aquifer at Chettipattii village, about 18 km from Tiruchi on Friday.— PHOTO: A. MURALITHARAN

Just as people around the globe celebrate the World Water Day today, the residents of Kaandhalur and Chettipatti villages on the border of Tiruchi and Pudukottai districts look up, not to the authorities, but to the bountiful earth to help them tackle their perennial drinking water shortage. . .

The residents of Kaandhalur in Tiruchi district and Chettipatti in Pudukottai district used to collect water from three rural tanks: Chettikulam, Vennayikulam, and Pudhukulam. These tanks also played an important role in recharging groundwater in the area. However, in the last three decades, due to poor rainfall, all the tanks have dried up. Now, the lone aquifer on the banks of Chettikulam tank at the village, which derives its name from the tank, is the only source of succour to the villagers. Chitradevi, one of the residents, said that she has been used to consuming tank water . During summer, however, when the tanks dry up, the aquifer comes in handy.

S. Deivanidhi, State executive member, All India Agricultural Labourers Association, said that borewells were set up to provide drinking water, but the water was not potable. Overhead tanks were constructed to supply Cauvery water in Kaandhalur and Chettipatti villages which account for 200 and 100 households respectively. But since the supply is not adequate, villagers prefer to collect water from the aquifer. Mr.Deivanidhi, however, said that quality of water at the aquifer had also come down lately. However, a few residents still rely on it, in keeping with the age-old practice in the area, he reckoned. At times, the residents had to fetch Cauvery water from the HAPP area, about seven km from their village.

Residents demanded authorities to augment supply of protected drinking water to their villages.


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