Though the water level in the Siruvani Dam is enough to meet the present situation, the coming summer may see some tough moments for the city and the suburbs. The Coimbatore Corporation is closely watching the water position in the Siruvani Dam, which provides drinking water to one half of the city and also three municipalities and some panchayats south and west of the city.
With the number of water connections rising in the city and the suburbs, the local bodies are struggling to meet the demand with a meagre resource. While the city manages to sustain alternate day supply, the other local bodies have quietly re-scheduled the supply. The gap between two supplies has increased from four days to a week. In some local bodies such as Kurichi, it is more than a week.
Water managers in the Corporation point out that the South West Monsoon and the North-East Monsoon have not been good enough this year to ensure that drinking water position in the coming summer will be at least as comfortable as the one last year. The water level in the dam on January 5 this year is close to 60 ft, as against over 61 ft last year. The South West Monsoon rainfall in 2007 was more than 2,700 mm. It was only around 1,500 mm in 2008. What this monsoon provides from June to September becomes an investment for the following summer. The North-East Monsoon only adds to this. And, even this monsoon has not offered much. It provided 569 mm in 2007 and 484 in 2008.
Mayor R. Venkatachalam says the water position is comfortable as of now. Austerity on the part of the people is needed to manage the situation during summer. “Alternate day supply can continue, but changes may have to be made in the duration of supply to sustain this schedule,” feels the Mayor. But, this will be resorted to only if there is a crisis, he says. Mr. Venkatachalam, however, cautions the people against wastage that can push the city into scarcity. “They should ensure that we do not go back to the days of once-in-four-days supply.”
The Mayor admits that while the areas served by the Siruvani scheme will face the summer with an approach familiar to them during summer, the Pilloor scheme areas may go through an unfamiliar tight situation. As of now, the Corporation gets 65 million litres a day from this scheme. But, the number of house connections is rising because of these being released in the regularised sites. The Corporation is faced with the task of providing water connections to more than 20,000 houses. This will put pressure on the Corporation as the number of connections may turn a so-far-abundant resource meagre. “We are taking efforts to implement the Rs.113-crore Pilloor Phase II water scheme soon. Only this can help the Corporation meet the demand for more drinking water,” says the Mayor.