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Acute drinking water crisis looms large

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NO SIGN OF WATER: Goats grazing on the bed of Athoor Kamarajar dam.
NO SIGN OF WATER: Goats grazing on the bed of Athoor Kamarajar dam.

K. Raju

DINDIGUL: With extremely poor storage in two out of three major drinking water schemes owing to absence of rainfall, Dindigul town and many villages have been facing acute drinking water crisis. Further delay of monsoon will worsen the situation.

Three drinking water projects — Rs.100-crore Cauvery drinking water scheme, Peranai water supply scheme at Nilakottai and Athoor Kamarajar drinking water scheme — had been implemented to augment drinking water supply.

Of these three projects, Athoor dam, an age-old and perennial drinking water scheme, is the lifeline of people in Dindigul town and 17 wayside villages and town panchayats.

Now, its condition is dismal. Water level has gone below the level of three filters used to pump water from dam, leaving vast portion of the dam bed dry. It has become a grazing ground for cattle and a haven for illegal sand miners. One can see a small pond of water around the pumping area. Capitalising poor storage, local people scoop away large quantity of fish from the dam illegally.

People at the villages are the worst affected. While Chinnalapatti gets water once in 10 days, Chithiayankottai receives water once in nine days.

But municipal officials pay less attention to repair breaches in main pipeline. Large quantum of water has been drained for more than 15 days owing to breach in the main pipe line at Adhi Lakshmipuram and at Vakkampatti.

Athoor dam water has been meeting 40 per cent of total drinking water needs of Dindigul municipality. Cauvery water meets the needs of the rest.

Dindigul municipality has been supplying water to residents in the town once in seven days. If there is no rain, Dindigul municipality will face a tough time, and will fall back on Cauvery drinking water project to meet its total requirement.

With damage in pipeline and no water in Vaigai channel, Peranai water scheme does not serve much for Dindigul.

If there are no yield in wells at Peranai, Athoor dam would normally come to the rescue of the Dindigul municipality.

Most of residents are not in favour of the poor quality of water from Cauvery River and even local leaders cutting across party lines stopped claiming credit in bringing the scheme to Dindigul.

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