UDUPI: The rising mercury level has led to the drying up of water storage at Baje dam built across Swarna, a source of drinking water for people in 35 wards in the CMC limits. Depletion of water level in most of the wells in rural areas of the district has left the residents anxious about possible water shortage in the district.
Though the CMC has made arrangements to supply water on alternate days for a month now, and the accumulated silt at Baje was removed in February, cloudy weather prevailing in the district since Sunday has increased worries of speeding up evaporation of remaining water. The reason behind scant water flow into the Swarna is shortage of rainfall in the catchment areas across Karkala taluk this year. Last year, Karkala received 87mm of rainfall in April, and this year there has been no rain at all.
The water level in Baje dam was 2.2 metres on Monday. There is no need for worry till such time that the water level touches 2 metres. If it dips further, CMC will be forced to pump water accumulated in hilly areas near the dam and into the reservoir. The same water will be purified and supplied for drinking water purposes. Last year, Udupi faced severe drinking water problem from May 10, but this year removal of silt has helped to overcome severe drought-like situation. There are 22,000 drinking water connections in Udupi.
CMC commissioner Gokuldas Nayak told TOI that due to cloudy weather, every day about 8 cm of water level is decreasing in the dam. Initially, 2 pumpsets of 110 horse power (hp) will be placed, their numbers may be increased up to six, he added.
Sources in CMC said that if it rains by next week, things may proceed smoothly; otherwise, there will be a severe water crisis in the district. Already deputy commissioner MT Reju has passed an order to supply drinking water to 16 gram panchayats, including Brahmavara, Kokkarne and Shirva through tankers.
Additional deputy commissioner Kumar told TOI that if it rains before May 26 or May 27, people can heave a sigh of relief as the water at Baje dam will meet their drinking water needs. However, the CMC administration has plans to tap water from the adjacent hilly areas.