Abundant water waiting to be tapped

Come April and drinking water woes begin in almost all cities including Mangalore. While the rich get water through tankers, the poor are left with no option, but to curse the City Corporation. Its also an opportunity for few organisations to stage dharna against City Corporation. In the following MCC / ZP meetings, the issue is a topic for hot discussion. The assurances follow from all the officials concerned. Then, its time for rains and the matter ends. (Only to be continued next year!)

Some parts of Mangalore city face acute shortage of water supply many a times though the Mangalore City Corporation gets about 160 MLD (million litres per day) of water from Thumbay. Quite interestingly, the requirement of Mangalore City Corporation is 80 MLD, which is half the water supplied to the City, according to MCC Commissioner Dr K N Vijayprakash.

Then why there is a shortage? “A  lot of water is being wasted in transit,” he said and regretted that enormous pure water is used for cleaning vehicles and gardening, which is much more than their actual consumption.

Stressing the need for installing 100 per cent tamper-proof meters and sensors to monitor water distribution, he said that on an average, about 30 to 40 per cent of water goes waste due to various reasons.

New vented dam

The existing dam at Thumbay has the capacity to store 9 MCM (million cubic meter) water. However, the water storage capacity has been reduced to 4.50 MCM due to silt!
But the new dam under construction, of seven meters height, will have the capacity to store 14.70 million cubic meters water, which is much higher than the water storage capacity of the existing vented dam.

Lakya dam

In case, if there is still water storage (or till the new dam is constructed in Thumbay), then there is abundant water in the catchment areas of Lakya dam, the 100-metre earthen dam constructed by the prestigious mini-rathna Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL), now renamed KIOCL Limited.

According to company officials, the Lakya dam, a tributary of River Bhadra, has the capacity to store 245 million cubic meter of water. Though about 187 million cubic meter is covered with silt (iron ore slurry gathered over the years ever since the firm started its operations in 1980), there is still abundant water in its 18 kms catchment areas amidst the picturesque valleys surrounded with Western Ghats.

The most interesting aspect is that water can be drawn to Mangalore through the company’s 67-km pipeline using gravitational force! In fact, the company gets about 4 MGD (million gallons per day) of water when required (some days it will be less depending on the need of the pellet plant in Mangalore).

KIOCL ready to give water

During a recent visit to KIOCL plant organised by Information Department, KIOCL General Manager V Bobraj Jeyaharan said that the KIOCL is ready to provide water to Mangalore City Corporation if it requires. When contacted, MCC Commissioner Dr K N Vijayprakash said that discussions have already been held in this regard. “The move is being delayed due to pending court proceedings,” he said and added that the MCC would pursue the matter once the legal matters are cleared.

With KIOCL ready to provide water and MCC ready to receive water, perhaps water scarcity should never be an issue in future, at least in Mangalore.


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