As temperatures rise, Ernakulam gears up for possible drought conditions

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had directed all district collectors in the state to take precautionary measures against drought-like situations.
As temperatures rise, Ernakulam gears up for possible drought conditions
As temperatures rise, Ernakulam gears up for possible drought conditions
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With temperatures shooting up across Kerala, Ernakulam district administration is gearing up to meet the possible drought-like conditions that could arise in the coming month.

A meeting was convened by District Collector and officials of various departments at the Collectorate on Tuesday to analyse the possibility of drought in Ernakulam. District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla has assured that there was no need to panic and things were under control. The meeting was convened at the direction from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday. The Chief Minister had directed all district collectors in the state to take precautionary measures against possible drought.

Periyar river and Muvattupuzha river, which flow across the district, are the two major sources of water in Ernakulam. The district depends on both rivers for irrigation activities and drinking water usage. According to Irrigation Department officials, as of now, water levels in both rivers are satisfactory. “Water levels in both the rivers can only lower if power generation in Idamalayar and Idukki dams will be reduced to maintain reservoir levels there. This is the only apprehension we have. But as of now we have received no such information,” Soni Devasi, Ernakulam minor irrigation executive engineer, told TNM.

Water released from Idamalayar dam located in Ernakulam district after power production is the main source for Periyar River. Meanwhile, Muvattupuzha river depends on water released from Idukki dam. When water levels in reservoirs become lower in summer months, power production used to be reduced; this would then reduce water released to these rivers. Though such a situation has not arisen, officials are planning precautionary steps.

As part of this, the Collector has given directions to village officers and tahsildars to find available water sources across the district. The officials of various local bodies will have to submit a report regarding the presence of water sources like ponds and stone quarries in the district. These water sources will then be cleaned and protected.

There are about 178 water kiosks in the district which store drinking water. The district administration has directed village officers and tahsildars to report on the working condition of these kiosks before March 15.

A large part of Kochi city, especially commercial outlets and residential apartments, depends on tanker lorries for drinking water. This water is mainly sourced from 22 wells in Aluva taluk.

The Collector has directed officials of Groundwater Department to submit a report before March 31, after assessing how many litres can be drawn from each of these wells. Earlier, the local officials of Aluva Municipality had alleged that wells in the region were showing dip in levels because of water being pumped for tanker lorries to city. The district administration has asked Groundwater Department to conduct a scientific assessment of water quantity that can be drawn and would not affect the water availability in municipality.

The Collector has also asked officials to do a quality assessment of water being carried through tanker lorries.

“The district will have uninterrupted water supply till May 31. Along with precautionary measures for the possible drought, strict actions will also be taken against those who steal water illegally,” said District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla during the meeting held on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, officials of the Kerala Water Authority told TNM that a campaign will soon be launched to spread awareness on usage of limited water. “The campaign which will be titled ‘jalam jeevamritham’ will promote ideas among people on how water can be used in a limited and sustainable way,” Anil Kumar superintending engineer of KWA told TNM.

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