Andhra Pradesh

Chittoor district staring at drinking water crisis

A file photo of women queueing up with empty pitchers at a borewell in Baireddipalle mandal of Chittoor district.

A file photo of women queueing up with empty pitchers at a borewell in Baireddipalle mandal of Chittoor district.   | Photo Credit: K_V_POORNACHANDRA_KUMAR

The district is currently facing about 50% deficit rainfall

Chittoor district, which totally depends on rain-fed irrigation for its drinking water needs, is facing a crisis in the western mandals, with officials having deployed water tankers in 278 villages, a majority of them in Kuppam Assembly constituency, represented by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

For the first time in a century, all 66 mandals received heavy rainfall in November-December of 2015, giving complete relief from drought in the district, phenomenally recharging the groundwater table from a depth of over 500 feet and above to just 30 feet and even less in the eastern mandals. Though the district suffered total dry season in 2016, except for sporadic rains in December, the water problem did not arise. As per the official figures, the district is currently facing about 50% deficit rainfall, projecting a potential threat of water crisis in the coming months.

Superintending Engineer (Rural Water Works, Chittoor district) G. Venu told The Hindu that the district administration had ratified a contingency plan till June this year, with an outlay of ₹ 19 crore, in addition to funds from the 14th Finance Commission for the village and mandal parishads, and general drought relief.

Repairs to tanks

The official said that several parts of western mandals were showing signs of water crunch with scanty or no rainfall in the region for six months. All the field officials of the line departments have been galvanised to tackle the water issues in rural areas, by undertaking repairs to tanks, pipelines and mobilising tankers.

In 2015, the district administration spent over ₹ 50 crore to supply drinking water to hamlets, and the spending was below ₹ 5 crore in 2016 with sustained ground water levels. The RWS official maintained that the entire focus at present is on western mandals, as the eastern mandals are still free from any trouble.

“Till June, we are totally prepared to meet any situation anywhere in the district. There is no dearth of funds,” Mr. Venu added.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:11:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Chittoor-district-staring-at-drinking-water-crisis/article17363851.ece

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