Clamour for potable water in coastal areas

People in Basavanagar, Kunjathbail of Mangaluru draw drinking water from his open well that is contaminated. DH Photo

The residents of Udupi town and 126 villages in 84 gram panchayats in Udupi district are clamouring for potable water.

“It has been more than 10 days since the taps went dry in our locality, after Udupi CMC water-level stopped supplying water with water level at Baje dam across Swarna river reaching dead storage level,” said Keshav Shetty, a resident of VST Road near Kalsanka in Udupi.

“Without water, we have been depending on mineral water for cooking and drinking. I have asked my relatives not to visit us during this summer vacation. It is the sheer negligence of the authorities that aggravated the water crisis,” he declared. Udupi needs 24 MLD and water in Baje dam is the only source of water for Udupi. 

According to Udupi Deputy Commissioner Hephsiba Rani Korlapati, who is also administrator of Udupi CMC, 35 wards have been divided into six zones and each zone will get water once in six days.

“A total of 141 water tankers supply water to 126 water-hit villages in 84 gram panchayats in Udupi district,” said Udupi Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer(CEO) Sindu Rupesh.

Manipal-based rights activist Ravindranath Shanbhag says like in UK, steps to mitigate drought should have been planned a year ago by the district administration. 

Dakshina Kannada district had received a record rainfall of 4582.4 mm (as on October 24, 2018) and yet faced an unprecedented drought. The district in previous monsoon had received 3224.7 mm rainfall.

In Mangaluru

With district administration and Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) intensifying water rationing this week, Arun, a resident of Basavanagar near Jyothi Nagar in Kunjathbail ward is forced to draw water from the well to meet the drinking and cooking needs of his family.

The well, brimming with water, is however contaminated by raw sewage stagnating in the open drain located close to the well.  

“There are about 48 such open wells in MCC limits which are believed to be contaminated by raw sewage,” informs former Deputy Mayor and Kunjathbail Corporator Mohammed.

Due to their exposure to 48 such contaminated wells, residents across the city are staring at an outbreak of waterborne diseases this peak summer. Despite increasing the height of water level, impounded at Thumbe new dam, across Netravathi river, from 5 to 6 metre, Mangaluru and surrounding areas continue to reel under acute water shortage.   

The water level in new dam is presently below 4 meter. The MCC, unable to provide 160 MLD, is now supplying water thrice a week. Mohammed informs that MCC can tide over the crisis by drawing water from Maravoor dam and supplying it to residents through tankers.

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