Residents of Manthada Puduline in Ketti collect water from broken pipes and tanks far away from their homes, as the lack of rainfall in the district had dried up a stream that was their main water source.
There are more than 75 families residing in the small settlement and they were tapping water from a stream on the upper slopes of the village. The residents alleged that hostility between two sides of the village has led to one section of the residents blocking the flow of water to the other side of the settlement.
However, Ketti Town Panchayat officials said that water scarcity was due to drying up of the stream. “The water is too little for it to reach the residents in Manthada Puduline,” an official said. “We had planned to use the Hill Area Development Project to supply drinking water to the settlement, but the local body elections have put paid to our plans,” the official added.
Joyce, a pregnant woman, and her mother S. Mariya Theresa, who are residing in the village for long, said that water crisis was a common problem in their village. They trek up a slope from their village to reach the Ooty-Coonoor National Highway, to collect water from a broken pipe that carries water to Wellington Cantonment Area.
The residents have to filter and boil the water before consuming it. The water is used for drinking as well as washing, said P. Radha, whose husband works in the Government Botanical Garden in Ooty. Residents also feel that they are being marginalised, as villages further downstream receive water, while they continue to trek between the broken pipe and a tank further up the road, to collect water. “We have been complaining to the local panchayat to ensure that water is supplied to our pipes. But our complaints have fallen on deaf ears,” said Radha.