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Water shortage: Athoordam in a state of disrepair

Staff Reporter
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TAKING STOCK:K. Balabharathi, MLA (right), inspecting the pumping station at the dam in Dindigul district on Friday.— PHOTO: G. KARTHIKEYAN
TAKING STOCK:K. Balabharathi, MLA (right), inspecting the pumping station at the dam in Dindigul district on Friday.— PHOTO: G. KARTHIKEYAN

Even as Dindigul receives 10 million litres of water a day, (MLD) as per the supply register, people in the municipality get water only once in 15 days. No one, including the Collector, municipal and Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board officials could not explain where and how the civic body distributes the 10 MLD of water. The total water requirement of Dindigul is 21 MLD only.

With the existing supply, the municipality can distribute water to all residential areas once in two days without any hassle. “I have been asking this question to these officials since my first tenure. I did not get an answer even in my third tenure,” said K. Balabarathi, MLA, after inspecting Athoor dam, the main drinking water source to Dindigul, on Friday.

Talking to media persons after inspecting the dam, she said that poor maintenance of dam, malfunctioning of motors and other equipment, paralysed distribution system and inaction of officials were some of the reasons for the erratic water supply. Now, the dam has over 20 foot of water. At present, 6.9 MLD of water was being pumped from Athoor dam a day, of which five MLD goes for Dindigul and the rest for 12 wayside villages. In 1983, 35 staff were deputed to man the dam. Now, there are just four workers, including three on contract — the municipality privatised dam maintenance work for an annual contract of Rs.9.5 lakh.

Of the 15 supply wells near the dam, five were completely destroyed and 10 could not be used owing to accumulation of silt. Accessibility to the 10 wells was nil. Of the three motors meant for pumping, one was in a paralysed state. If two other motors were running simultaneously, the old pipes would burst. At a time, only one motor could be operated, said a technical staff. The pumping station has a 200-KVA generator that can supply power for three hours only. That too was not functioning. Of two transformers, one does not function and parts are missing in the other. The worst part is that a motor meant for mixing chlorine with water is not functioning for a long time.

Unprotected drinking water was being supplied to the town and wayside villages, said Ms. Balabarathi.

Cauvery drinking water project, which supplied seven MLD earlier, has been supplying just 5 MLD to Dindigul owing to shortage of power.

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