The severe water crisis has forced schools in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts to postpone their re-opening for the new academic year.
Schools were scheduled to reopen earlier this week. However, due to lack of water, officials of many schools have decided to either send students back home after the morning session or have the reopening postponed to next week.
“We had initially planned on re-opening the school on 27th May. Now, due to the water crisis, we had to postpone by a week and will reopen only on June 3. Our major challenge was to provide water for sanitation, which we have now stored and believe that it will suffice until rains start. The food provided in our cafeteria is prepared at different places. Hence we don’t need to provide water for the preparation of the food”, Anuradha Shivaram, Principal, Manipal School in Mangaluru told TNM..
Some school authorities say that the situation is so severe that they are looking to ensure water supply by hiring water tankers. "We have asked permission from the Block Education Officer to reopen the school from June 3. We hope water is provided by then or else we have no option but to opt for tankers,” Jalajakshi, Principal of Canara High School in Dongarakere in Dakshina Kannada said.
A lack of pre-monsoon rainfall in the summer months had led to severe water shortage in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts with the water levels in the Thumbe and Baje resevoirs dropping to critical levels.
Water rationing has been put in place in both Udupi and Mangaluru. In Mangaluru, water is being supplied continuously for four days followed by no water supply for three days. In Udupi, water is being supplied once in three days.
School authorities in Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada have already arranged for tankers to provide water for the students. "Till now around two schools complained of water shortage. The respective panchayats ensured that these schools are provided with sufficient water through tankers. Most of the schools are sourcing water from their wells. Meanwhile, I have directed school principals that in case of severe water shortage for sanitation, they could cut short school hours, “ said N Shivprakash, Block Education Officer, Bantwal.
Many schools were forced to turn to wells and borewells to ensure water was available due to the lack of water supply from the municipal bodies. "If the water shortage continues, then the school will only function for half a day from June 3. The school has been managing basic sanitation as the students are provided with water from the wells in the campus. The students will have extra classes during October vacations or on Saturdays once the water crisis is over,” Nirmala B, Principal, Volakadu Government High School in Udupi told TNM.
School authorities in the two districts are hopeful that the measures taken by them can help them manage till the monsoon arrives.They are also planning to implement rainwater harvesting in their schools to avoid this kind of a situation in the future.
With inputs from Arza Safiya, Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)