Many villages in Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka face shortage of drinking water

Chikkamagaluru district administration has begun tapping private borewells to supply drinking water

February 23, 2024 04:50 pm | Updated 04:52 pm IST - Chikkamagaluru

Residents of Dandur village fetch drinking water from a tanker.

Residents of Dandur village fetch drinking water from a tanker. | Photo Credit: Sathish G.T.

As a tractor water tanker reaches Vikas Nagar of Dandur village in Ajjampur taluk of Chikkamagaluru in Karnataka, the sleepy village springs to life. Women, children, and men run towards the tractor with empty plastic vessels. Families fetch drinking water amidst heated arguments over who should get their vessels filled first.

Every day, Cheeranahalli Gram Panchayat sends two tankers of 6,000 litres each to the locality.

“It is insufficient given the population of the village. We have to wait throughout the day for the tankers to reach our place, leaving aside other work,” rued Rangamma, a resident.

The residents have adopted a policy that no household should fetch more than 10 pots of water a day from the tanker, so that water supplied by the tankers reaches all needy families.

Worst hit are villages dependent on borewells

This has been a regular scene in many villages in Ajjampura, Chikkamagaluru, Tarikere, and Kadur taluks of Chikkamagaluru district. Villages that are highly dependent on borewells for drinking water are the worst hit, as the groundwater table has depleted due to the drought.

The Chikkamagaluru district administration is making arrangements to supply water through tankers, including tapping into private borewells, to meet demand.

“If the situation is so bad in February, what will be our plight in April when the problem is expected to get worse,” wondered Srinivas, a resident of Cheeranahalli in Ajjampura taluk.

At present, the district administration has identified 20 villages that are facing an acute shortage of drinking water. Besides that, around 60 villages are water-stressed, indicating that the regular water supply has been hit.

Those dependent on streams are also worried

B. Gopal Krishna, CEO of Chikkamagaluru Zilla Panchayat, told The Hindu that the panchayat had deployed 10 tankers for supply and also tapped eight private borewells to meet demand. “A majority of the villages that are affected are located in Chikkamagaluru, Ajjampura, Kadur, Tarikere and N.R. Pura taluks. As of now, there is no problem in the Malnad regions,” he said.

The residents of Malnad taluks – Sringeri, Koppa and Mudigere – are primarily dependent on streams that flow from hilltops for drinking water purposes. In the last two months, many of these streams have lost vigour, leaving the residents worried.

Mr. Gopal Krishna said the officers had identified such villages, and worked out plans to handle the situation. “We have identified private borewells to be tapped. However, there is resentment towards sharing borewells, as planters require water to safeguard their crops. Anyhow, drinking water gets prominence. We will have a memorandum of understanding with owners of borewells to get water,” he said.

Many big planters are lifting water from streams and rivers that flow close to their estates. As they lift more water with the help of high-power pumps, the residents in the vicinity do not get sufficient water.

A big planter has been lifting water from the river Sita, a tributary of the Tunga river, near Jayapura in Koppa taluk, which is being resented by the local people who are unable to fulfil their needs from their only natural source of water.

Campaign against contamination of water

Chikkamagaluru ZP and the Department of Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation are conducting a drive to avoid incidents of water contamination. The officers are conducting the campaign with the slogan – Ulisi Manukula, Kalushitavagadirali Jeevajala – meaning save humankind, ensure drinking water is not contaminated.

“We are covering all gram panchayats under this campaign, as there are chances of water getting contaminated at a time when there is a shortage of drinking water,” said Mr. Gopal Krishna.

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