Kerala

Drought grips Palakkad district

Though summer is many months away, Palakkad district is reeling under acute shortage of drinking and irrigation water, with the major water sources fast drying up.

A drought-like situation prevails in the eastern regions of the district such as Attappady, Chittur, and Kanjikode.

In Chittur taluk alone, three dozen check-dams have dried up and water level is alarmingly low in the rest 30 check-dams.

The Gayathripuzha, Korayar, and the Varattayar that empty into the Bharathapuzha have already dried up.

Only the Chitturpuzha has water to meet the drinking and irrigation needs of the people on its shores thanks to the temporary allocation of water from Tamil Nadu under the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project.

Water for 30 days is remaining in the Malampuzha dam, the State’s largest irrigation dam, and the situation has turned for the worse in Shoranur and Ottappalam.

Functioning of the Ottappalam, Shoranur, Ongallur, and Vallapuzha drinking water schemes had suffered because of the poor water availability in the Bharathapuzha.

There is a scramble for drinking water, supplied in water tankers, in Chittur, the worst-hit taluk. More grama panchayats on the eastern borders of the district are increasingly relying on such lorries.

“Both the monsoons have been a failure. There was hardly any rain during north-east monsoon. There will be drought of unprecedented magnitude this time,” said Arumukhan Pathichira, a farmer from Muthalamada.

Rain shadow areas

Water scarcity is acute in the rain shadow areas such as Vadakarapathy, Erithyampathy, and Kozhinjampara and the Attappady tribal belt.

Almost all rivers, reservoirs, ponds, and wells have dried up in Attappady. Pudur and Sholayur grama panchayats in Attappady are already in the grip of a drought-like situation.

Because of the alarming depletion in water level at the Pothundi dam close to Nemara, paddy cultivated in 600 acres is facing destruction. The only dam in the district with sufficient storage in Mangalam Dam.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2021 8:23:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/Drought-grips-Palakkad-district/article16722716.ece

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