Production in industries hampered by water crisis

A view of the Mangalore Chemical and Fertilizers Limited (MCF) factory.

The supply of fertilisers in the state and fuel in the country is like to be affected this farming season.

Both Mangalore Chemical and Fertilizers Limited (MCF) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) are the worst hit industries by the water crisis. They are both largely dependent on the water available in the Thumbe dam across River Nethravathi.

Waiting for rain

The state’s only fertiliser industry, MCF, has stopped manufacturing fertilisers due to acute water shortage.

MCF Director Prabhakar Rao told DH that the factory had been closed down since February and had operated for some days in April. “As the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) has stopped water supply, the plant can resume manufacturing chemicals only after the start of monsoons. The units will be made operational only once the water is stored in the required quantities. The MCF requires 1.5 to 1.6 million gallons a day (MGD) of water,” said Rao.

Annual maintenance

The sources in MRPL said that, of the three units, Phase 2 has been shut down for annual maintenance since April 15. “Phase 1 was shut down on May 9, following the deputy commissioner’s orders. Drawing of water has been completely stopped. Presently, Phase 2 of the refinery is being operated using treated water from the MCC sewage treatment plant (STP),” the sources added.

The production capacity of the MRPL has been reduced to half, from the annual refinery capacity of 15 million tonne. The officials said that Phase 2 could run for not more than two weeks. There is also no other source of water, although the work on the desalination plant – which received the CRZ clearance from the MoEF recently – is in progress.

Nethravathi water

Sources in the Mangaluru Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) told DH that the company had stopped drawing water from Nethravathi on April 23.

“There are eight active units – including OMPL, ISPRL, Cardolite and four fish meal units. Most of the units are now shut down for annual maintenance. As the JBF became defunct, drawing of water from the Thumbe dam for industrial purposes of the MSEZ came down to 7 MGD,” said the sources.

Gaurav Hegde, Kanara Small Industries Association (KSIA) president, told DH, “Small industries were utilising ground water. The production of edible oil plants, however, which needs huge quantities of water, too has been hit.

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