District authorities in Udupi have taken the drastic step of pumping water from holes in the riverbed of the Swarna river to ensure sufficient water supply this month. The decision was taken on Monday.
A team from the Udupi City Municipal Council along with experts were posted at the Baje dam near Hiriyadka in the district to begin the process of channelling the water from the holes in the riverbed. The holes refer to ponds where water from the river accumulates.
"There is a scarcity of water because sources have dried up due to the heat. We will be channelling and using water from available sources," confirmed Udupi Deputy Commissioner Hephsiba Rani. "By Tuesday evening, we will begin pumping the water," she added.
Water from holes in areas like Shiroor and Puttige will be accumulated and treated at the Baje reservoir before it is supplied to meet the water demands of Udupi and neighbouring areas.
The district has been plagued by water scarcity during the summer months for the last few years.
At the Baje reservoir, the water level needs to be 1.7 metres in order to be drawn. Currently, the water is at 1.2 metres only.
Water supply in Udupi has been affected by the lack of rainfall coupled with the drying up of water sources. Water rationing is already in place in the district and water is being provided once every three days. However, this will now be reduced even further due to the lack of water availability. "We have to continue the rationing of water and we cannot give it once in three days. We will work out based on the availability of water," the Deputy Commissioner said.
The DC, however, refused to share the new system of water supply. "It could be even longer because it depends on the altitude and alternative sources of water. We are working out how we will use the available water," she said.
Udupi usually receives good rainfall from the first week of June, which is when the monsoon season begins. Officials in the district are hopeful that the measures taken by them can sustain the water supply in Udupi and other areas for the rest of the month.