Acute drinking water crisis haunting Theni district

Staff Reporter

Despite intermittent showers, marginal increase in Periyar dam level

THENI: Despite intermittent showers and marginal increase in storage level in Periyar dam, lifeline for Theni and four southern districts, acute drinking water crisis has been haunting several municipalities, town and village panchayats in the district for the past 15 days.

Many municipalities and town panchayats cannot supply drinking water to their residents even once in 10 days.

The quality of drinking water is not up to the mark. Water is turbid and brown, complain residents.

Mullaperiyar river alone supplies water to more than 25 drinking water projects. On an average, each municipality or town panchayat provides 70 to 90 litres per head a day.

With no water in the riverbed, several drinking water supply tanks sunk on Mullaperiyar bed are dry.

At present, Theni municipality supplies drinking water once in 10 days to many wards and 12 days to some remote wards. Similar trend prevails in Chinnamanur, Cumbum and Goodalur.

These municipalities too cannot supply water once a week.

Earlier, these municipalities had been supplying drinking water to residential colonies once in three days.

Poor quality of drinking water and shortage of supply boost sale of packaged drinking water in the district.

Environmentalists and naturalists feel that indiscriminate sand mining in the river is the main reason for the poor quality of water. Sand on the riverbed acts as sponge to improve groundwater, filters all contamination in the water and makes it clean.

With no sand in the bed, water flows on rocky surface without any natural purification process.

Sharp showers

But sharp showers that rocked the Cumbum valley on Thursday night brought some respite to people.

Public Works Department engineers release water through the Iraichal Bridge for drinking purpose only. But an acutely parched riverbed absorbs a sizable quantum of water released from the dam.

To improve drinking water supply, Theni municipality has sent proposals for a new drinking water project to meet the growing demand. The level in the Periyar dam on Friday stood at 109.8 feet.

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