Even as the Athoor dam has water up to three-fourth of its total capacity and an additional supply from Rs.100-crore Cauvery Combined Drinking Water Project, drinking water crisis has become a ticklish issue due to inability of the Dindigul Municipality, its poor strategies and lethargic attitude of elected representatives as well as officials.
At present, Athoor dam has 17 feet of water (total capacity is 23 feet). Besides, supply from Cavuery project is good. With all these comfortable sources, the municipality has been struggling to supply drinking water to residents once in eight days and in high-ridge areas once in 10 days.
The municipality blames erratic power supply, malfunctioning of pumping motors at Athoor dam and shortage of manpower for poor drinking water supply. Poor planning, obsolete pipelines, haphazard distribution, ill-maintained system, massive use of motors for drawing drinking water, persistent breach in main pipelines and poor quality of repair works and total neglect in plugging breaches in main pipelines are real setbacks.
For example, large quantum of drinking water has been wasted almost throughout the year in Vivekanandha Nagar owing to breach in three distribution points. Water has been flowing like stream on streets.
Water supply has been made continuously for 20 hours on supply day in some areas and cut to three hours in other areas. Surplus water instigates careless use and shortage ignites anger.
“If the municipality weeded out such practical difficulties, it could streamline the water supply easily. We have sufficient water. Regularisation is need of the hour,” said a retired municipal official.
Collector N. Venkatachalam had advised local bodies to give top priority to drinking water supply and gave them freedom to use their general fund to streamline the supply. He asked the municipality to take efforts to remove silt accumulated in Ahoor Kamarajar dam to improve storage.
The State government, on its part, promised to revive paralysed Peranai drinking water scheme. Elected bodies had promised to supply water once in three days. Many governments, Collectors, municipal chairmen and municipal commissioners have come and gone. But the one thing that remains static and unchangeable is acute drinking water crisis persisting throughout the year irrespective of the seasons. With election promises thrown to the wind and plans and strategies in paper, poor residents, with no option, make up their mind to face yet another struggle for drinking water during this scorching summer.