Vijayawada

Unprecedented water crisis

Residents of Vizianagaram are witnessing the worst-ever water crisis of their lifetimes.

A drought-like situation has engulfed the town for the first time in the last five decades, pushing its four lakh residents into despair.

The groundwater table has sunk to unprececented levels, and the town’s municipal water supply is unreliable and infrequent. The situation has led to many houses remaining vacant, with owners reluctant to put to-let boards on their premises as they would not be in a position to arrange for water supply.

Many residents have left to spend the summer with their relatives in Srikakulam or Visakhapatnam due to the water scarcity. Locked houses can be seen in areas in and around Ring Road, Cantonment and Pool Bagh.

"Many senior citizens depend on rents for their livelihood. But now there is no demand for accommodation due to the lack of water facility. We urged relatives living in Hyderabad and other places not to visit us in the summer as water supply will be insufficient for daily needs," said B.Srinivasa Rao, a resident of Padmavati Nagar.

In dire straits

The town needs a supply of 45 MLD (Million Litres per Day) but the actual supply is hardly around 15 MLD. Vizianagaram Municipality is unable to supply water even once in four days. Almost all borewells have dried up with groundwater levels dipping below 200 feet from the surface.

Successive governments had failed to focus on the long-term water needs of Vizianagaram town. The only major water resource is the Mushidipalli water scheme that depended on Tatipudi reservoir, located 15 km from the district headquarters. The reservoir mainly caters to the needs of Visakhapatnam as per a previous agreement. The reservoir too dried up six months ago, with the little water that is available in the dead storage being utilised by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC). Farmers had organised a massive agitation six months ago for the allocation of Tatipudi reservior water for irrigation purpose.

Suggestions

Former Minister and Uttarandhra Charcha Vedika convener Konatala Ramakrishna, who had conducted a study of the water crisis in Vizianagaram, said that the immediate completion of Uttrandhra Sujala Sravanti would help the civic authority meet the water needs of the town.

CPI Secretary of Vizianagaram P. Kameswara Rao asked the government to allocate Tatipudi reservoir’s water to Vizinaagaram. "Natural resources should be utilised for the people living nearby instead of sending it to faraway places. The government should cancel the previous agreements and allocate water from the Tatipudi reservoir to Vizianagaram. Otherwise, Vizianagaram town will witness a high level of migration," he said.

Lok Satta Party State president Bhisetti Babji said that the situation was bad in many villages in the district with rural water supply schemes going defunct. Vizianagaram Collector M. Hari Jawaharlal reportedly directed the municipal authorities to come up with an action plan over drinking water needs since the situation would deteriorate further in May.

New canal planned

At the Collector’s suggestion, the municipal authorities have prepared a plan to draw the Nagavali’s water from Thotapalli reservoir to Vizinagaram. The water will be linked to Gadigedda, a tributary of Champavati river. A 117-km long canal will be used to draw Nagavali water up to Gadigedda.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 12:06:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/unprecedented-water-crisis/article26967714.ece

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