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Suburbs look to Corpn. for more drinking water

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Limited benefit: The overflow from the Siruvani Dam brings no cheer to municipalities and panchayats dependent on it for drinking water.
Limited benefit: The overflow from the Siruvani Dam brings no cheer to municipalities and panchayats dependent on it for drinking water.

K.V. Prasad

For them, the situation alternates between scarcity and acute scarcity

COIMBATORE: Their case is that of scarcity amid abundance. Three municipalities and more than five town panchayats in the south and western suburbs are not happy over the overflow at the Siruvani Dam.

There is no increase in the amount of drinking water supplied to them. And, whatever is allocated to them is too little to meet the demand of a rising population.

For all these local bodies, the water situation alternates only between scarcity and acute scarcity. Only the city benefits from abundance during heavy rain, they say.

The town panchayats of Veerakeralam, Vadavalli, Dhaliyur, Thondamuthur and Vedapatti plan to appeal to the Coimbatore Corporation for more water under the Siruvani scheme.

While Vadavalli needs it from the Corporation as a temporary measure till an alternative scheme is completed, the others say they want it as a permanent measure to tide over scarcity.

The overflow at the Siruvani Dam helps only in restoring the full supply that is, however, very meagre, says Veerakeralam Town Panchayat president V.T. Bakthavathsalam.

Surplus

“What we need is more than one million litres a day. But, we get only 4.5 lakh litres,” he says.

“We have already appealed to the Mayor for more water. We will meet him again with the request, now that water overflows from the dam.”

Explaining its position, the Vadavalli Town Panchayat says that the water supply situation improves very little when there is a surplus in the dam.

Local distribution

The internal distribution gets back to the normal once-in-three days or four days schedule. But, there is no increase above the 7.65 lakh litres a day from the dam. On the other hand, the quota dips sharply and local distribution is thrown out of gear when water level reduces in the dam during summer, says Town Panchayat President Amirthavalli Shanmughasundaram. Vadavalli will also request the Corporation for one million litres a day.

The local body wants this only as a temporary measure for the next two years because an alternative scheme is expected to be completed by then.

The new scheme will provide 5.5 million litres of water a day to Vadavalli from River Bhavani in Mettupalayam and the local body may even think of daily supply to the people. At present, supply is made once in four or six days.

Kavundampalayam Municipality gets 3.4 million litres of Siruvani water and 1.2 million litres of Pilloor water every day, including one million litres provided by the Corporation from its share of Siruvani water.

Waitlisted connections

“Hence, there is no major problem in supply,” claims Municipal Chairman K.M. Sundaram. But, residents say officials cite water shortage as reason for a long list of waitlisted connections.

Kuniamuthur Municipality, a suburb south of the city, says there is hardly any respite from shortage when the population rises steadily.

“We have provided 8,000 water connections so far, as against the total 18,000 buildings assessed for Property Tax. And, 3,000 connections are on the waiting list.

They can be released only when we get more water than the nearly three million litres we get now,” says Municipal Chairperson S. Thulasimani.

She says that the municipality needs at least six lakh litres.

More layouts

“We have a population of over one lakh and it keeps rising because of more layouts coming up. The proposed Aliyar water scheme will fetch only around four million litres. But, when the scheme is completed around 2010, we may have already touched a requirement of 10 million litres a day,” she says, hinting at the tight situation that will continue.

Kurichi, also a suburb south of the city, waits for the Aliyar scheme to be over.

It now waits for permission from highways authorities to lay a pipe across National Highway 47 (Salem-Kochi) to draw one million litres of Siruvani water every day from the Corporation’s quota of 87 million litres.

A 20-year-old worn out pipeline now adds to the Kurichi Municipality’s misery.

“We get only four million litres a day instead of the allotted five-and-half million litres because any increase in the force of supply will burst the pipe,” says Municipal Chairman N. Prabhakaran.

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