Frequent water supply disruptions leave Cheranalloor residents livid

KWA officials attribute it to location of panchayat at tail end of supply line

In the last four years since he moved into his new house at Cheranalloor panchayat, Liyons Jos was forced to make several unplanned visits to his in-laws’ house at Palarivattom, courtesy the frequent drinking water supply disruptions at his home. The latest such visit was on Sunday when his water tank dried up following days-long supply disruption.

“We have a four-year-old daughter and it is not possible to live without water, forcing us to shift to Palarivattom. This frequent shifting is so frustrating,” said Mr. Jos. The tale is no different for the majority of residents of the panchayat bordering the Kochi Corporation.

The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) officials admitted to the problem, attributing it to the location of the panchayat along the tail end of the supply line. “Any disruption in the Aluva water treatment plant affects the supply in Cheranalloor and lingers even after the pumping is resumed. It takes days before the supply gets stabilised in that part,” said a senior KWA official. He cited as a potential solution the proposal under Rebuild Kerala for laying a dedicated supply line from the Thammanam pump house at an investment of ₹21 crore for which administrative sanction has already been received.

The latest supply disruption, which is yet to be fully restored, was the result of a day-long shutdown of the Aluva treatment plant on January 8.

Benny Francis, a panchayat member, said it took more than a fortnight for the water supply to be normalised after every disruption in Aluva. “When supply dries up, people illegally dig into the supply line or mount hand pumps to suck out the water. This further deteriorates the problem and necessitates the intervention of the maintenance wing of the KWA to remove the air blocks created in its wake. Even during normal times, the pressure of water supply is so feeble,” he said.

So acute has the problem been over the years that protests at the KWA office have become a common affair for the elected representatives of the panchayat who get bombarded with complaints from the public. They hope that the proposed overhead tank and pumping station at Ponekkara under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation will resolve the perennial problem.

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