KWA’s failure to prevent pipe bursts irks residents

Height of apathy: Potable water gushes out from a broken pipeline at Kovoor near the Government Medical College in the city on Sunday.  

Even as residents complain of acute shortage of potable water, repair of several damaged water supply pipelines are pending with the Kerala Water Authority (KWA). Though arresting wastage of water is projected as a key intervention area of the authority, the absence of a dedicated workforce to address emergency complaints has affected its operations.

Residents allege that complaints forwarded through the helpline are rarely attended to by the authority. They also claim they are forced to fix the problems with the help of local plumbers.

“Eight years ago, there was a special team of the KWA named ‘Blue Brigade’ to promptly attend to pipeline bursts and complaints on disruption of water supply. However, it did not last even a year owing to staff shortage,” says Biju Varghese, a plumber who lives near the Government Medical College.

According to him, the KWA, which receives funds from the government to carry out emergency maintenance work, hardly utilises it.

Residents of Bilathikulam have complained that a public road in their area remains water-logged and slippery thanks to frequent pipe bursts. The maintenance team arrive at the spot in the name of inspection and soon disappear, and there is no end in sight to the problem, they say.

V. Abhijith, a driver, says the underground pipelines of the KWA are all in poor condition, and the authority has been ignoring it for long. “By the time they [KWA] repair one stretch, leakage will be visible on the other edge in two or three days,” he quips.

Members of the Kerala Water Authority Staff Association point out that the revival of the Blue Brigade will go a long way in handling residents’ complaints. The department can easily resume the service ahead of the summer season, they add.

Meanwhile, KWA officials argue that they have been taking utmost care to instantly address all major complaints.

Water shortage is an issue in some locations, which can be attended to only after the completion of the remaining pipe laying work under the Japan-aided drinking water project, they say.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 9:24:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/kwas-failure-to-prevent-pipe-bursts-irks-residents/article19748813.ece

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