November 3, 2016
While Tamil Nadu is constantly at loggerheads with its neighbouring states over water distribution, news of a 15-year leakage on a pipeline carrying the much sought-after Siruvani water has left Coimbatoreans shell-shocked.
This news comes in addition to the construction of a dam across the river by Kerala and the dwindling storage capacity of the Siruvani Dam. The Agro Climate Research Centre’s prediction of deficient rain in the monsoon season is an added burden in the current situation.
While the situation is such, the leak in the pipe, which runs across the Muthannankulam Lake also known as the Kumarasamy Lake near Chinnavedampatti in the city, has turned into a major drinking water resource for the people in the vicinity over the years during dry seasons, according to locals.
“People from the surrounding areas including Sokkampudhur and Panaimarathur are aware of the leaks and you can find them fetching water from the leaks when water distribution is delayed. There are more than four leaks in the pipe,” said C Kumaran, who has been living in the area for the past 25 years.
K Siva Kumar, another resident, added that the locals usually did not complain about the leak as it helps meet their drinking water needs.
“Water distribution is very irregular in our areas and we get water only once in a week. So the leaks in the pipe turn out to be an obvious substitute. Residents do not want to stop storing water,” he opined.
Since the leak is inside the water on the shore of the lake, the residents clear the dirty tank water and wait until clean water gets collected. The collected water is then fetched using small troughs and filled in vessels.
The problem does not end just with the leakage; one of the residents claimed that when the water flow is stopped, the dirty water from the tank contaminates the interior of the pipe.
“Most of the people are not aware of this health hazard. The water in the tank has mosquito larvae and it mixes with the drinking water. One can imagine what all diseases this can cause,” said G Kannappan, another resident.
While 15 years is a very long time for an issue to go unattended, residents claim that officials are very much aware of the issue, yet action is rarely taken. “They tried mending one of the leaks some time ago. But it has started leaking again,” they said.
Reacting to the issue, City Engineer G Rajendran said that they would look into the issue immediately. “There is a chance that the residents themselves damage the pipe to get water. We will check the area,” he told The Covai Post.
Water level in Siruvani dam
According to Executive Engineer K Sukumar, the dam level was 866.3 m (meter) as of Monday and around 66 mld (million litres per day) of water was distributed every day.
“We have enough storage and we can sustain until the middle of November. The monsoon has started on Sunday and the storage will increase,” he added.
He also stated that deficit rain would not affect the storage level as the dam would receive rain from the Kerala region, adding that the dam had received 30 mm of rain on Sunday alone.