Water crisis in Dharmasthala, Mangaluru a disaster warning

Water shortage is not much heard of in this coastal city, abutting the Western Ghats. But this time, the distress is telling.

That the famous pilgrimage town of Dharmasthala, not far from here, too is facing a rare water scarcity is a telling sign of the things to come.

The city gets about 160 MLD of water daily from the Thumbe dam. The water-level in Thumbe dam has come down to 3.48 metres as against the maximum storage capacity of 6 metre. The water can not be lifted if the water-level reaches below 1.5 metre in the dam. With the rationing system, the MCC is hopeful of continuing supply till June 10.

Not only the households, hotels and restaurants are also feeling the heat. Many hotels have switched to plantain leaves to serve meals. Water is kept in small containers in the washroom for people to wash their hands as taps have gone dry. Some other hotels have switched to paper plates to serve food and tea/coffee.

The crisis is apparent in Panambur, Kunjathbail, Bunder, Baikampady, Pandeshwara, Kavoor, Konchadi and other areas. 

A staffer at a hotel said, “though we depend on private tankers for water supply, they are not able to cater to the demand. If we place demand for three tankers (with 6,000-litre capacity each) daily, they supply only two.” The price has gone up from Rs 1,500 for a tanker of water from Rs 1,200 in the past.

As per the rationing system introduced by the Mangaluru City Corporation, water is supplied for 96 hours (four days) and discontinued for the next 96 hours (4 days). The Corporation too has made arrangements for the supply of water through tankers.

DC Sasikanth Senthil said the MCC had already identified 48 open wells to draw water for supplying to the residents. It is also falling back on 135 borewells and 26 other open wells, which will be cleaned in a day or two.   

MCC commissioner B H Narayanappa said they were making maximum efforts to supply water. They are pinning hopes on rains to solve the crisis. 

Monthly maintenance rates in apartments have been increased, to account for supplying water through tankers.

Vagdevi, a resident of Hoigebail, said, “we were paying Rs 1,350 per month as maintenance fee. Now, it has been increased to Rs 1,850. The water supplied is muddy too.” 

“We have sent our children to our native place. I have not seen such shortage of water during my stay in Mangaluru in the last 10 years,” said Rajesh, a resident.

The district administration has planned to take up dredging in Thumbe dam, to increase the water storage capacity. The work will commence within four days.

Rohit Kumar founded Vimocafe in 2016. He covers Entertainment news from the Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada Film industries.