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Drinking water situation may turn serious

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WATER SHORTAGE: Most parts of the Singanallur tank in the city have gone dry. —
WATER SHORTAGE: Most parts of the Singanallur tank in the city have gone dry. —

Special Correspondent

Poor monsoon will impact groundwater level also, says Mayor

COIMBATORE: The Coimbatore Corporation is in the grip of a fear of drinking water shortage.

Though the civic body is yet to ring alarm bells over the dipping water level in the Siruvani Dam, it is upset at the lack of rain in the catchment.

As if this were not enough, the Corporation’s bore wells are not able to provide enough water in areas where the ground water table seems to have receded.

“From four hours a day, we are able to operate many bore wells only for an hour. This is because the tanks in these areas have begun to dry up,” says Mayor R. Venkatachalam. “There is almost no rain at the dam or the catchment,” he says, conveying the Corporation’s anguish over the situation this year, compared with the heavy rain last year.

From July 19 to 24 the dam received only 44 mm rain.

While July 21 recorded the highest during these days (22 mm), there was no rain on July 20 and 23.

This is the first time in the last four years that scarcity stares at the city and suburbs that get water from the Siruvani scheme. “We get reports of only thick cloud formation. But, there is only very negligible rain,” the Mayor laments.

The water level in the dam is 35 ft against the full reservoir level of 67 ft.

But, the local bodies can draw only up to 25 ft, as the rest 10 ft is for the animals in the Siruvani reserve forests.

But, heavy silt in the dam has reduced the storage capacity.

This means that the share of water for the local bodies will get reduced, the Mayor points out.

“While we are already hit by this problem, the lack of rain is causing further agony,” he says.

Only the Pilloor Phase II scheme can save the city.

But, the Rs.113-crore scheme is getting delayed as fresh tenders are to be invited for four packages.

The scheme, to be implemented under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, should have crossed the halfway stage, after having been inaugurated in February 2007 by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

“But, a number of procedures are involved. And, these have to be carried out in co-ordination with the Department of Forests and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board,” the Mayor explains.

So, a poor monsoon as of now and the delay in implementing the new scheme are frustrating the Corporation.

The Mayor says that if the city’s demand for water is way above the supply, the rise in the number of multi-storeyed residential apartments has to be blamed.

“Independent houses on 15 to 20 cents are being replaced by apartments that have 20- to 25 flats. So, instead of providing water to one family, the Corporation has the task of providing it to 25,” he says.

Besides, almost every inch of open space is covered with concrete. There is no way rainwater can get into the aquifer, he said.

M. Sivalingam, a dermatologist living in Sivananda Colony, points out that apartments are easy to live in because of reasons of security and maintenance.

But, these are having a huge impact on the drinking water situation in the city. Where is water for all of them, he asks.

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