Residents in some areas of Kerala’s capital city have found themselves in a difficult position. Parts of Thiruvananthapuram are facing shortage of drinking water. However, the crisis is not a result of the onset of summer, but an issue regarding the terrain of the district.
With the population and buildings in the city increasing steadily, the water supply has taken a hit. And it is the people who live in elevated areas who are most affected. The lesser the water, the tougher it is to pump to elevated areas.
Neenu, a resident of Sasthamangalam area in Thiruvananthapuram tells TNM, “As we live in an elevated area, the pipe lines are not able to pump water till our houses. There are around 10 other houses in our area that are also facing water shortage for over a month now,” she said.
“I met the MLA, officials of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) and even the MD of KWA, who asked us to look for another option. So, we dug a borewell in our house,” said Neenu, adding that she is exhausted, running to pillar to post for this.
Some other areas affected in Thiruvananthapuram district are Kesavadasapuram, Kowdiar, Sasthamangalam and even Cliff House, which is the official residence of the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
TNM also contacted Bindu Sreekumar, the ward councillor of Sasthamangalam, who said that they are setting up new pipelines in that area and that the condition is gradually improving. “There are 10 to 11 houses in my ward that are severely hit by water shortage. We have been trying every possible way to improve the situation. The corporation along with KWA tried everything. Since it's not working, we have set up a kiosk in that area,” she said.
The kiosk has a capacity of 11,000 litres and has been set up for the 11 houses suffering from water shortage in that area. “The people can’t say that we haven’t done anything. A kiosk of 11,000 litres won’t come just like that. KWA is trying everything they can to pump the water,” argued the councillor.
However, residents are still upset. “Aren’t we also humans? Don’t we need water? We’re also paying tax just like everyone else and all we’re demanding for is a basic necessity - water!” questions an enraged Neenu.
Kesavadasapuram is another area in the district which is facing a similar crisis. Speaking to TNM, Stephy George, the area’s ward councillor, said that many of the houses situated in elevated areas of her ward receive water only for a few hours at night.
“I approached the KWA officials with this issue and they said that we have to make the residents understand that water is limited,” said Stephy.
The Kesavadasapuram councillor added that facing the brunt of this crisis are mostly people who are living in rented places in the second or third floors of a building, till where the water is not reaching.
“We are not even asking for 24 hours of water supply now. All we want is proper water supply for at least 6 hours in a day,” Stephy states.
Vinod, a resident of Vyasa Nagar in Kesavadasapuram said that the KWA has set up a water tank in their area in case of emergencies. “We get water for a few hours at night, but during the day, we can use the tank water in case of emergencies,” he said. Vinod goes on to say that they have been facing this issue for more than 4 months now.
Population and development
Speaking to TNM, Ajitha Devi, the Executive Engineer of the KWA said, “The main problem is that the population is growing, the water resources are limited. People should understand when the users increase, there will naturally be a shortage of supply,” she said.
Ajitha said that there are three water treatment plants at the moment in Thiruvananthapuram and they are trying their best to increase the amount of water that is being pumped to different areas. “But every month, around 1000 new connections are coming up. At the moment, all we could do was to regulate the supply of water.”
Ajitha also stated that by March 2020, a fourth plant will come up in Aruvikkara, which will improve the situation. “Many other projects are also being planned in the next three years and we’re positive that things will improve.”
She also urged the citizens to be aware of the situation and take to water conservation methods like rain water harvesting.