The summer of 2017 was so harsh that even last year’s flood couldn’t obliterate its memories. As the water level of Peppara dam – the sole drinking water source for Thiruvananthapuram city – hit rock bottom, Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had to pump water from Neyyar dam to maintain uninterrupted water supply in capital. This was the same story at many other places in 2017.
The excess rainfall in 2018 has erased the fear of a drought. However, KWA is leaving no stone unturned this time. The retreating monsoon, which followed the flood, was deficient in state and KWA’s hope – that the rain in October and November would enrich the water sources –was dashed. Sources said that water resources minister K Krishnankutty has directed KWA officials to take necessary precaution this summer. “We have been asked to identify all water sources that were affected during the summer of 2017. In all affected areas, we will also identify alternative sources such as quarry water and ponds which could be utilized at the time of a crisis. Portable reverse osmosis plants, which are now being used in Sabarimala, will be utilized to filter water from alternative sources,” said KWA officials.
However, they assured that they are not expecting a crisis this year. Officials in the central region said all water supply schemes depend on river water and monsoon has ensured enough water in all major rivers. The southwest monsoon was bountiful, with an excess of 23% last year. Water resources department is also planning to construct dams and check dams across rivers to ensure availability of water during summer. For example, Vamanapuram River is a source for over 20 water supply schemes in areas such as Attingal and Varkala. The department is planning to revive an old scheme to construct a dam across the river.
The department is also in the process of seeking consent from the Union Government to raise the water level of Peppara dam from its current maximum level of 107.5m to its full reservoir level 110.5m. If that is possible, drinking water crisis in the district will be resolved to a large extent.