Drought Hits 24 Out Of 32 Districts In Tamil Nadu; Taps Run Dry & No Water For Cultivation
As heatwave grips the southern parts of the country, the state of Tamil Nadu is witnessing an acute water shortage. Amidst the statewide discontent against the authorities for the water crisis, a protest broke out on the night of May 29 outside the residence of Tirunelveli Collectorate, Tamil Nadu, reported The News Minute. Men and women from nearby villages sat with empty pots under the blazing sun claiming their complaints regarding the water crisis over a year to the collector were never addressed.
No water for cultivation
The late arrival of monsoon and images of dead fish floating on the ‘about to dry up’ reservoir of Papanasam dam have concerned the residents. The Papanasam Dam which supplies water to the districts of Tirunelveli, Virudhunaggar, and Thoothkudi is failing to meet the needs of the residents. According to the authorities, the water level of the dam has dropped to 10 feet(ft) against its storage capacity of 143 ft. Lack of water supply has taken a toll on farmers who were set for paddy cultivation. The farmers in all these three districts are supplied water, based on the water need for the cultivation. However lack of water storage this year has made the farmers give up their hopes for paddy cultivation. To placate the disgruntled residents of these three districts, 25 cusecs from Panasam dam and 2752 cusecs from Manimutharu dam are being discharged.
Water crisis not only glooms over these three districts, as 24 districts of the 32 in the states were declared drought-hit. The districts of Trichy, Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, and Tanjore, which span 1,400,000 acres of the delta region of the Cauvery are the home to the paddy cultivators of Tamil Nadu, reported Business Standard. Cultivation in these districts which comprise for 45.4% of state’s paddy production took a hit as the delta region suffered from an inadequate supply of water from Mettur Dam.
Chennai citizens face the heat
The water crisis in the state’s capital- Chennai is hardly any better. Due to the severe water crisis, the state government has cut down 40% of water supply only to add on to the residents’ woes. With the reservoirs across the city going dry, citizens’ fear that it would be the worst drought they ever face. The city which consumed 800 million litres of water (MLD) per day has to now suffice with only 550 MLD, reported NDTV. This is considered as the fifth lowest quantity of water supply recorded in the last 74 years. The foul smell of water running from municipal taps is driving residents of Central Chennai area to resort to package water. Private water suppliers are making the most of the crisis as they are charging Rs 3,000 to 5,000 per truckload of water.
Authorities Blame late Monsoon
Authorities say less rainfall is the reason behind for the parched condition of the state. Chief Minister K Palaniswami has earmarked Rs 823.64 crore for the water scarcity in the state. However, activists and farmers believe this is not enough to resolve the situation. The activists are highlighting lack of planning by the government behind the crisis as they point 259 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of flood water getting drained into the sea annually. As the groundwater level in the last decade dropped by 85 %, experts worry the only way to save water is by implementing efficient water storage.