Mangaluru, March 31, 2023: Mangaluru is staring at another water crisis with water level reducing at the Thumbay vented dam that supplies water to the city. The scorching heat leading to water evaporation and the complete stop of inflow into the dam has made matters worse.
The city can save itself from an impending water crisis if the catchment areas receive good showers in the next few days. Or else, as already hinted by the authorities, water rationing is inevitable by April end and water may be supplied for a few hours every day. Engineers of the city corporation have already been asked to prepare an action plan for April and May.
Given the present situation, citizens are only hoping that it would rain in the next few days as they shudder to imagine a water crisis and still remember the acute water shortage that gripped the city in 2019.
About 160 MLD of water is pumped to Mangaluru from Thumbay vented dam, which also supplies water to Ullal, Mulki and other villages enroute to the city. Though the dam has a capacity to store water upto seven metres, water is stored only upto a height of six meters. The storage of water upto seven meters would mean inundation of large tracts of land and would necessitate providing compensation to the affected land owners and farmers.
Presently, the Thumbay dam also supplies 2 MGD water to MCF, 0.5 MGD to NMPTA and 1 MGD to other industries. The AMR dam located upstream supplies 6 MGD to MRPL and 8 MGD to SEZ.
The AMR dam presently has water upto a height of 18 meters of which 14.5 meters could be utilized. The authorities plan to use water from AMR only if the water in Thumbay dam reduces considerably.
Mayor Jayananda Anchan has already appealed to citizens to make judicious use of drinking water supplied to the city. He has also stated that a team led by Commissioner Channabasappa had visited areas upto Uppinangady to check the inflow of water to the river Nethravati recently.
Already several large educational campuses in Mangaluru and its vicinity are feeling the pinch with the water reducing the quantity of water supply. However some institutions which have their own water sources have not been affected.
Meanwhile several rural areas like Konaje, Talapady, Balepuni, Narikombu and Manjanady are facing water problem. The Zilla Panchayat is initiating measures to drill borewells in some areas while in some other areas measures are taken to further deepen the existing borewells.
According to ZP CEO instructions have also been given to taluk and grama panchayats to effectively manage water resources and prevent hardships to public.
Chairing a meeting at Nethravathi Hall in Zilla Panchayat, Karnataka Minister for Energy, Kannada, and Culture and District In-Charge Minister, V Sunil Kumar directed Tahsildars, EOs, and PDOs to address water issues and take necessary steps to ensure proactive measures to ensure people do not face any water shortage during the summer. He also asked the Revenue Department and Rural Development to be alert to tackle the water crisis issue, and to ensure that no area in the district is deprived of drinking water.
Meanwhile, many are questioning why water is not stored at Thumbay dam upto a height of seven meters.
On increasing the water storage level, at a recent MCC meeting, the erstwhile Commissioner had said that a drone survey was conducted for increasing the storage level in Thumbay vented dam, to 7 meters height. Stating that there were objections by farmers, the then Commissioner said depending on the situation, in case of necessity, the authorities would look into the possibility of storing water at 7 meters height for three to four months, by paying compensation to landowners for submersion of their land for the period.
When a dam is constructed to facilitate storage of water upto seven meters it is nothing but an irony that the governments as well as other authorities concerned did not adopt a systematic approach by initiating all measures to store water upto maximum height by ensuring compensation to the affected people. The ever growing city of Mangaluru, with its increasing population and increasing water needs can be a true Smart City when it faces no water problem.