Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 20 April 2024 12.19 AM IST

Water authority's 'cruel pastime' in Thiruvananthapuram


It feels as if the officials in the water authority are under some kind of bizarre vow to not allow drinking water to homes in the capital city amidst the gruelling summer. Due to pipe repair works, the water supply in the city has been suspended for three to four days without any previous notice.

The drinking water supply got suspended after a pipe broke down in Muttada region just one week back. This has now piled misery into the lives of residents who have been forced to do routine activities with little to no water. It has turned out to be normal for officials to suspend water supply without setting up any replacement nor informing the news to residents on a prior basis. This cruel pastime of suspending water supply at a whim has taken a toll on the residents of the capital city.

It is the water from Aruvikkara dam that is taken to the observatory and the treatment plants at Manvila, and from there is distributed throughout the city. The water pressure difference was never a cause of concern when it was the old cast iron pipeline, but the scenario is now entirely different with the concrete pipelines. Any surge in pressure would end up leaving cracks in the pipeline.

During the summer season, complaints fill up regarding water not reaching homes that are situated in geographically higher regions. To alleviate the concern, officials do a desperate job of pumping water under high pressure. This eventually results in pipe cracks in summer and a resulting halt in the water supply. Although pipe bursts and leaks happen unexpectedly, it is not possible to schedule and inform about the repair work two or three days in advance. This would have easily helped people store some water for necessity.

A permanent solution to avoid frequent bursts is to replace the concrete pipes that pump water from the stream banks with cast iron pipes. A system should also be in place daily to check the pressure of the water flow through the pipe and control it if the pressure is too high. The officials would be apprehensive of the move since cast iron pipes cost a fortune compared to concrete ones.

However, this inept work of halting supply is not congruent with the high tax levied by the water authority in recent times. People are made to pay large only for experiencing such frequent disruptions in water supply. Cynics are also doubting a collusion between pipe repair contractors and water authority officials over the frequent pipe bursts and maintenance. In such emergencies, money is used from the emergency fund of the authority. It does not require a tender invitation or other procedures.

Contractors will jump to grab such emergency works that do not require contract submission or prior approval. These people can reap crores with a single project. Officials will also turn a blind eye as a basic nicety for all the lucre coming their way as a benefit of the deal.

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