Kerala

Water scarcity hits farming activities

Agricultural activities in Kerala’s traditional granary Palakkad are heading towards a complete halt with authorities deciding not to release water stored in over a dozen reservoirs in the district for irrigation purposes within the next three days.

The unprecedented decision was taken against the backdrop of alarming depletion in the storage level of dams besides acute water scarcity in the district.

With reservoirs such as Malampuzha dam stopping release of water to irrigation canals, a number of wells which are dependent on the canal system will also dry up. Except for the Mangalam dam, all the reservoirs in the district are showing alarming depletion in water storage level. The worst affected is the Walayar dam.

In the Pothundi dam, the stored water can meet drinking water needs of hardly 20 days.

The Kanjirapuzha dam has water required to meet needs of another 44 days.

Drought

With drinking water too scarce, a drought-like situation has already emerged in the district. Failed monsoons and climatic change have made life almost difficult, especially in Chittur and Pattambi taluks. The Siruvani dam that contributes to the drinking water needs of neighbouring Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu has almost dried up fully.

Major feeders of the Bharathapuzha such as the Chitturpuzha, Thoothapuzha, Kunthipuzha, and Gayathripuzha too have dried up.

The Ottappalam, Shoranur, Ongallur, and Vallapuzha drinking water schemes on the Bharathapuzha basin have already been hit.

Water supply

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

The scarcity is acute in rain shadow areas such as Vadakarapathy, Erithyampathy, and Kozhinjampara and the 745 sq km stretch of the Attappady tribal belt. “The areas facing the severest drinking water crisis are those where distribution schemes have been dependent directly on rivers. Wanton sand-mining has led to the deepening of the riverbeds pushing the groundwater table further down,” says environmental activist P.S. Panicker.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 11:02:46 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/Water-scarcity-hits-farming-activities/article17018604.ece