Despite being just about 13 kilometres away from the bustle of Kochi city, thousands of residents of Kadamakudy panchayat, a cluster of 14 islands, has been hit by severe water crisis since the last two months. The residents in parts of the panchayat get drinking water from the Kerala Water Authority only once a week.
"Households with wells can manage, but others who depend solely on from Kerala Water Authority, it has become difficult to manage without water daily," Praveen, a resident of Pizhala Island, which is part of Kadamakudy panchayat, told TNM.
With water scarcity hitting the panchayat severely like never before in the recent past, residents and the panchayat officials have started an indefinite protest in front of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) office near the Kochi Corporation.
"A house is supposed to get 750 litres of water in a day, but a family now just gets about 250 litres of water in two days," Shalini Babu, Kadamakudy panchayat president, told TNM.
According to the panchayat officials, the water scarcity is due to the ongoing pipeline restoration work that is part of the Muppathadam water project, which gives water supply to the panchayat.
"The project, which brings water directly to the panchayat households from the Muppathadam water plant, is aimed to boost the water supply to the region. But its work, which started a few months ago, is not over yet. Though the panchayat had informed KWA about the water crisis multiple times, they have not taken any remedial measures," said Shalini Babu.
Though KWA has started supplying water through tanker lorries to one of the islands of the panchayat, residents and people's representatives quote that is not enough.
"The panchayat has Rs 5 lakh sanctioned by the district administration to meet the shortage of drinking water in the panchayat during summer months. If we take that now, in summer, it will be much worse. KWA is acting passively because we have this money and they think we will eventually use it to supply water through tankers. But this water shortage, which is due to the work by KWA, is supposed be rectified by them," says the panchayat president.
As a result of the ongoing work, residents have also raised complaints that the little amount of water they get from KWA is, most of the time, contaminated.
â€œThere is a leak in the water supply pipeline at many points, and the water we get through it will be contaminated with water from drains," alleges Praveen.