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City in crisis: Tanker and packaged water turn dearer

Even as the Tiruchi City Corporation resorted to alternate day water supply to tide over drinking water crisis, there is also shortage of water supplied by private tanker lorry operators and packaged water suppliers.

Residents of Bheema Nagar, Woraiyur, part of Cantonment, Kooni Bazaar, Airport, Palakkarai, Crawford and other parts of the city are faced with acute water scarcity. The drinking water scarcity that started surfacing at the end of April has turned a crisis situation, forcing the civic body to introduce alternate day water supply.

While the civic body has restricted water supply to residents, it is the failure of household borewells that has compounded the crisis. Faced with acute shortage of water even for drinking and cooking purposes, residents are increasingly depending upon tanker lorries and packaged water. The drastic depletion of groundwater has pushed people to buy water. Now, there is scarcity of packaged water and tanker lorry supply too in the city.

“I get dozens of calls a day for supplying drinking water. But, I am able to honour just three to five calls due to sharp fall of water at source points,” says N. Boopathy (39) of Kishore Water Supply in Mannarpuram.

Sources say that there are 150-160 private tanker lorries in the city, in addition to tankers owned by hotels and restaurants. They operate in different sizes - 2,000 litres, 6,000 litres and 12,000 litres. Most of them tap water from private borewells at Kondayampettai on the banks of the Cauvery. The groundwater table is said to have gone down drastically at private borewell points too due to over exploitation, forcing the tanker lorries to wait for long to fill up water.

Mr. Boopathy further said that there was no problem in private borewells till a month ago. Now, lorries were forced to wait for long to load water due to sharp fall in yield. The huge demand has caused steep increase in the cost of tanker lorry water supply.

The cost of one load (12000 litre) of water has gone up beyond Rs. 1500. It was just Rs. 700 to Rs. 800 till April. Several new players have emerged to cash in on the huge demand. There are players, who charge Rs. 700 for just 2,000 litre.


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