Water shortage triggers protests

Staff Reporter
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Shoranur councillors gherao Kerala Water Authority engineers

On the ‘waterpath’:Roads formed in the areas that were under water before severe summer heat gulped down a considerable part of Malampuzha reservoir in Palakkad.
On the ‘waterpath’:Roads formed in the areas that were under water before severe summer heat gulped down a considerable part of Malampuzha reservoir in Palakkad.

The district blessed with four rivers and having more than half-a-dozen major reservoirs continue to face acute drinking water shortage. The government’s drought mitigation measures have not brought any relief resulting in violent protests in many places, including Shoranur, on Thursday.

The worst-affected Attappady tribal belt where 33 children died of malnutrition recently did not get any drinking water despite the announcements made by the government.

Water had been supplied in Agali in tanker lorries for a couple of days. That has also stopped now, the reports reaching from Attappady said. The major rivers of Attappady — Bhavani, Siruvani, Kunthipuzha and Kodangarappallam — have almost dried up, making the drinking water supply schemes in the area non-functional. Even the hospitals in Attappady face acute shortage of potable drinking water.

In Shoranur, the municipal councillors gheraoed the Kerala Water Authority engineers on Wednesday for their alleged failure to provide drinking water in the area. The Bharathapuzha, the water source for the municipality, has dried up. Water from the Malampuzha reservoir was released to the river last week. But that also did not help improve the drinking water supply situation in the municipality, the councillors said.

No Central aid yet

A Central team had visited the district last month to study the drought condition. They found that many parts of the district, particularly areas in Chittur taluk, were facing severe drinking water shortage. But no Central help came to provide relief to the people reeling under one of the worst droughts in recent memory. The farmers in Chittur taluk are in dire straits due to the non-availability of irrigation water, particularly the State’s share of water under the inter-State Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP) agreement. The release of 100 cusecs water from PAP has brought some relief on the drinking water front.

The water in Malampuzha dam, the largest irrigation dam in the State, will suffice only to meet the drinking water needs of Palakkad municipality and the six adjoining grama panchayats till early June.

Water from the reservoir was released to the Bharathapuzha from May 1 to 4 to save the drinking water sources on the banks of the river up to Shoranur.

Water-level in the reservoir was 101.83 m on Tuesday as against the 104.02 m during this period last year. In Walayar dam, the water level is 193.10 m as against the 194.06 m during the same period last year. Water level in the Meenkara dam was 149.41 m water as against the 151.12 m during this time last year. This will suffice for drinking water supply for another three weeks.

In Chulliyar dam, the water level touched 140.89 m as against the 141.60 m last year.

Cattle being sold off

In many parts of the district, the farmers are selling off their cattle. After agriculture, dairy farming is the main vocation of the people in rural areas. The grass has all dried up, and there is shortage of other cattle feed. Unable to ensure fodder and water, farmers are selling off their cattle. This will adversely affect milk production in the district.

Since rivers and streams in the forest have dried up wild animals are coming out of the forests in search of water. The straying of wild animals into human habitations Malampuzha, Mundur, Kanjikode, Pudussery and so on are posing a threat to the people and domestic animals.

  • Despite promises, water supply not ensured in Attappady

  • Water-level in Malampuzha dam dips to 101.83 m




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