Udupi / Mangaluru: The rising temperature has become a growing concern for residents in Udupi and Mangaluru, as the issue of drinking water shortage continues to worsen. Several local bodies have already begun using tankers to supply water to hotels, restaurants, ceremonies, and various events to tackle the problem.
The drinking water problem is reportedly expected to worsen in many parts of undivided Dakshina Kannada district in the first week of April. In response to the impending crisis, district administrations have held separate meetings and instructed taluk-level officials to monitor the water levels and devise methods to maintain uninterrupted supply.
The officials have also received information on areas that may face severe drinking water problems in the next few days and have been directed to take necessary precautionary measures immediately in such places. A list of 27 areas was prepared by the Gram Panchayats, which has already started facing water problems in the Udupi Municipal Council, and another five areas have been identified in the D.K. Gram Panchayats.
Apart from villages in Karkala taluk of Udupi district and some villages of Kundapura, Byndoor, Hebri, Kaup, Udupi, and Brahmavara taluks, areas in Mangaluru city and urban local bodies like Mulki, Moodabidri, and Someshwar are also experiencing water problems.
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Meanwhile, the Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to supply clean drinking water to every house through taps, has already connected 72.94 percent of houses in Udupi district and 85.45 percent of houses in D.K. However, water is not being supplied to all houses connected under the scheme, and there are still areas where overhead tanks need to be constructed, connectivity is not complete, and the construction of wells and tube wells is ongoing. Experts say that the mission may bear fruit in 2024.
Instead of giving priority to tanker water supply, local administrations have been instructed to make adequate use of water sources in villages, deepen and flush tube wells in areas where the groundwater level is low, and drill borewells where necessary. Programs like water recharge are also being carried out to increase groundwater.
There is no need to wait for district or state-level instructions for supplying water through tankers in severe water problem areas, and the committee headed by the Tehsildar at the taluk level can take this decision. Both district administrations have given instructions to this effect, officials said.
According to Prasanna H., CEO of Udupi Zilla Panchayat, and Dr. Kumar, CEO of D.K. Zilla Panchayat, there is no shortage of funds for water supply in rural areas. A separate grant will also be available for this from the 15th Finance Commission. The officials have also instructed taluks and gram panchayats for efficient management to maintain water sources and provide adequate water supply.