Palakkad under grip of water scarcity

By TheHindu on 06 Apr 2017 | read
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In spite of a few summer showers, almost all parts of Palakkad district are now facing acute shortage of drinking and irrigation water, with the drying up of its major water sources. All the 128 drinking water schemes located on the Bharathapuzha river basin are now turning dysfunctional because of the lack of enough water resources.

While there is an increasing demand from farmers in Chittur taluk for governmental measures to release 1.57 tmc of water stored at the Parambikulam and Aliyar reservoirs, the State government is yet to take up the demand with the Tamil Nadu government. Lack of periodic review of the inter-State water sharing accord between Kerala and Tamil Nadu over the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project is also making the situation further worse.

“The claim of Chittur MLA K. Krishnan Kutty that Tamil Nadu released more water than the mandatory limit to Kerala during this drought season is far from true. Instead of releasing a total of 7.25 tmc of water, the neighbouring State has so far released only 3.714 tmc of water,” says S. Kochukrishnan and Vilayodi Venugopal of the Kerala Jalavakasha Samrakshana Samithy.

With the mercury almost touching 40 degrees Celsius in the district, Mannarkkad taluk comprising tribal belts of Attappady has started reeling under extreme water scarcity. Thirty tanker lorries are supplying 14-lakh litres of water a day in the taluk alone. Most parts of eastern Attappady are getting drinking water through tanker lorries once in four days.

In Chittur taluk, water authority has installed GPS facility in each tanker lorry supplying water as part of the efforts to ensure better distribution and prevent misuse. In Chittur, 20 tanker lorries have been hired to supply drinking water.

Special squads of the district administration are now making surprise checks across the district to prevent misuse of water by brick kilns and agricultural farms. A High Court order empowering the Palakkad district administration to prevent use of water for irrigation in the hot summer months has turned into a big relief for officials.

The government is also keeping a close watch on the tendency to sell water resources available in borewells as a commercial commodity. For the first time in the district, 600 water kiosks have been started in the most vulnerable areas.

Meanwhile, the scarcity is acute in rain shadow areas such as Vadakarapathy, Erithyampathy, and Kozhinjampara. Almost all rivers, reservoirs, ponds, and wells have dried up much ahead of the onset of summer.

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