Tamil Nadu

Kallakurichi residents scramble for water as borewells go dry

Searing summer: With borewells going dry, most residents of Kallakurichi now depend on private tankers to meet their daily needs.

Searing summer: With borewells going dry, most residents of Kallakurichi now depend on private tankers to meet their daily needs.   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

With demand for water soaring, many farmers have turned into water suppliers

Kallakurichi residents are digging deep and coughing up more money to source water to meet their daily needs as the town and suburban areas face a severe water crisis.

The crisis in this newly-carved out district, which began eight years ago, had now reached its zenith due to lack of rain last monsoon thereby forcing residents to dig deep borewells and buy portable water for drinking, cooking and other requirements.

“My borewell will go dry within 15 minutes of operating. Water thus pumped from the borewell will not be enough for cooking and washing utensils. So we buy water in cans daily for drinking purpose and depend on tankers for other requirements. Every alternate days we spend around ₹200 on water,” Vasanthi, a resident of Kavarai Street in Kallakurichi, told The Hindu.

The alternate day water supply by the Kallakurichi Municipality was not sufficient to meet the daily requirements, she added.

Velammal, who runs a small eatery near the Sub Collector office, said she buys a pot of water for ₹3 a day. “It is adding to our daily expenditure and causing a dent in profit,” she said.

Sinking water table

The dip in piped water supply is forcing more people to dig borewells but not with much success. John Paul, a teacher and resident of Vilanthangal Street, said it was hard to source water even after digging wells up to a depth of 800 feet. He said many people in his street bought packaged water for ₹25 to ₹35 a can.

Karthick kumar, a resident of Kavarai Street and who runs water can business, said the shortage of water had become acute this year. He said some six or seven years ago water could be sourced by drilling borewells up to a depth of 300 to 500 feet. “Now, even after digging deep we are not able to get water,” he said.

At least 0.5% of people were dependent on private operators for supply of water either in cans or tankers. A tanker load of 5,000 litres costs anywhere between ₹1,200 to ₹1,500, Mr. Kumar said.

Inquiries with Kallakurichi municipal authorities revealed that many farmers had turned into water suppliers. They drew water from their open wells on their fields and sell the water to houses and commercial establishments.

A study was conducted by the Anna University to identify possible areas to draw groundwater. Water could be drawn from 5 out of 25 bore wells drilled by the municipality, an official said.

The depleting water table coupled with gradual reduction in daily supply for Kallakurichi by Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board from its Rishivandiyam-Manalurpettai Combined Drinking Water Supply Scheme was the main cause for the present crisis, said a municipal employee.

As per the scheme of things, the Kallakurichi region was supposed to receive 29.25 lakh litres of water a day to meet household and commercial requirements. The daily supply from the scheme had reduced to 5 to 6 lakh litres a day. And if there was a technical snag in pumping or power outage, supply to the region would be completely disrupted.

People suggested that removing silt from the Gomuki dam would improve storage of water during rainy reasons. It would partially solve the water crisis.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 9:59:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/kallakurichi-residents-scramble-for-water-as-borewells-go-dry/article26705744.ece

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