- Written by P.J Joseph - Minister for Water Resources.
The tenure of the present UDF Government, during which the Water Resources Department could present commendable performance, is coming to a close soon, an assuring the reigns of power, the UDF Government has been making every effort for realising the dream of "drinking water to all, always". The Kerala Water Authority, which is entrusted with the prime responsibility of providing drinking water to the people of the state, is at present providing drinking water to 30 percent of the population through 1254 water supply projects. Water Authority will be completing 250 water supply projects for which administrative sanction was given through various schemes during the last fiver years with their completion 60% of the population will be getting drinking water through pipe lines of the above, 124 projects have already been completed. The JICCA Water Supply Project with Japanese financial assistance is the biggest water supply project undertaken by the Kerala Water Authority. Augmentation of water supply projects in Thiruvananthapuram city, Meenad project in Kollam, Pattuvam projcet in Kannur, Cherthalla Drinking Water project, Drinking water project for Kozhikode Corporation and 16 Panchayaths one the different projects under the JICCA scheme of the above schemes, Thiruvananthapuram, Meenad, Pattuvam and Kozhikode projects were commissioned partially while the Cherthalla scheme was fully commissioned.
For distribution of the full quality of the output from the Cherthalla scheme to 18 Gramapanchayaths, tender process has already started for laying of distribution network at a cost of Rs. 60.55 crores. Another noteworthy achievement of Kerala Water Authority is the Administrative Sanction for Rs. 238.53 crores obtained for expansion of water supply networks in Kochi Corporation. First stage of JNNURM project at Kochi has been commissioned already. It is expected to provide 235 mld of water to Kochi Corporation. When this is achieved water scarcity in Kochi Corporation, Maradu Municipality, Kumbalam, Kumbalangi and Chellanam Panchayaths will be resolved. With the intention of providing 70 litres of water per head per day to the rural population, 209 projects were undertaken under National Rural Drinking Water Project / State Level Scheme sanctioning committee for which Administrative Sanction for a total sum of Rs. 1769.60 crores was given. Besides projects worth Rs. 339.43 crores were taken up under UDISMAT of there, Perinthalmanna and Malappuram drinking water projects were commissioned. Another 12 projects are under different stages of execution.
Incentive from Central Government
It is a matter of pride for the Kerala Water Authority that the Authority could achieve incentives from the Central Government for its commendable performance in implementing the Intensive Rural Water Supply Projects in the state. A sum of Rs. 99.70 crore was obtained in 2012-13 and Rs. 70 crores in 2013-14 as incentive. It is worthwhile to say that the Authority could utilise the full amount it received for the projects. Besides the Authority could issue Administrative Sanctions for a number of projects under Plan Schemes of the State Government Budgetary provision was provided for replacement of old and damaged pipelines spread across different regions of the state.
About sixty percent of a water supply projects is spent on pipes and ancillary items. It was decided to do away with concrete pipes and AC pipes so as to avoid frequent breaking and leaking when there pipes are used. A Pipe Policy was approved is the year 2013 to ensure quality of the pipes used for the water supply projects. It was decided to use only M.S. Pipes, D.I, PVC, PE pipes for new projects. As per the policy when PVC pipes are used, its diameter should not exceed 160 mm. Like wise for projects in urban areas minimum diameter should be 150 mm and for rural areas 80 mm Government has opted for quality pipes even through it would enhance the budget outlay of each work substantially. For streamlining water supply arrangements in Kuttanad area Government has initiated several measures. Administrative Sanction for Rs. 70 crores was issued for new storage tank and improvements / replacement of distribution networks in all Panchayaths of the Kuttanad region. Tender process for these works is nearing completion.
With a view to simplifying the process of issuing new domestic connections, concerned Assistant Engineers were given delegation of powers to receive applications for new connections and take decision of them. Applicants could obtain new connections either through the Authority or licensed plumbers having recognition of Kerala Water Authority. Around 3 lakhs new connections were given since the present government assured office. In addition Water was made available through public taps numbering around 2.07 lakhs. Further the Government aims to give 4.19 lakhs new connections during this financial year and by the end of 2017 Kerala Water Authority plans to raise the number of connections from the present 14.50 lakhs to 25 lakhs with a view to completing the approved projects within the prescribed timelimit Government modified rules for processing and completion of tender process within a period of three months which usually took one to two years previously.
Revenue Adalats were conducted in every district and complaints form consumers relating to water tariff arrears, excess billing etc. were disposed of.
Government intends to complete 154 drinking water projects both small and large projects - under Mission 676 programme in a time bound manner.
Rural Drinking Water Projects
Government of India extends financial assistance for providing safe drinking water to rural areas under its Grameen Rural Drinking Water Programme. 209 projects with a total financial outlay of Rs. 1769.60 crores were approved under this scheme and being implemented. This will enable availability of drinking water@ 70 litre perday per head for the rural people.
Projects Under NABARD and State Plan
81 projects are being implemented with NABARD assistance whereby 18.32 lakhs rural population will be benefited. Besides it was possible to complete 19 projects under State Plan fund allocations.
Frequent Pipe Breaking in Capital City
It i s gratif yi n g to say that permanent solution was achieved for the frequent pipe breaking problem in Thiruvananthapuram city. Old pipe lines from Aruvikkara to Peroorkada were replaced with new M.S. (Mild Steel) pipes within a record time. Old and damaged lines are replaced in other parts of the state as well. The present Government has sanctioned projects amounting to Rs.445.37 crores on this account.
Steps were taken for constructing more Check Dams and Ponds for protecting and preserving available water resources . Administrative Sanction was accorded for 431 Check Dams - 60th big and samll. A good number of them were completed and others are in the final stages of completion. As a part of Governments programmes for preservation of water resources, a project for construction of 354 Ponds were taken up under One Pond for each Panchayat of which 133 were completed. Besides Administrative Sanction as accorded for renovation / reconstruction of existing ponds out of which 60 of them were completed. Government was able to renovate 689 discarded ponds within the last five years.
Drinking Water Project
Consumption of bottled drinking water is on the increase in the state. To make available good quality packaged drinking water at a reasonable price to the consumer a Company under Irrigation Department was started in Thodupuzha for the production and distribution of packaged drinking water. It is sold under the brand name "Hilly Aqua" at a cost of Rs.15 per litre. Packages of 300 ml and 2 litres also will be produced at the plant. Another branch of the plant will be started at Peruvannamoozhi in Kozhikode district soon. Utilisation of Water released through Kaveri Disputes Tribunal Construction of dam at Pattissery in Kanthalloor Panchayath of Idukki district was commenced for utilising 30 tmc water released through Pampar basin, a tributary of Kaveri river. The water thus received will be utilised for Irrigation of 240 hectares agriculture land in Kanthalloor Panchayath. Kanthalloor is a major vegetable cultivation area of Idukki District. Water received from the Pampar basin will be helpful in satisfying the drinking water requirement of the region also.
Construction of R.C.Bs.
In order to prevent infiltration of salt water into pure water sources, Government have undertaken construction of Regulators (RCBs) at Pathalam and Purappallikavu in Ernakulam district, Munayam in Trissur district, at Bavikkara and Veliyakodu in Kasargod district. Pathalam and Purappallikavu regulators are in final stages of construction.
Paddy Cultivation in Kuttanad Region
As a part of Kuttanad Package urgent measures are taken for renovation of Thanneermukkom Bund, Construction of Tottappally Spill Way renovation of A.C. Canal, opening of Kodar, construction of protective bunds and bund roads. Government was able to complete a lot of construction activity for renovating the neglected paddy field in the Chrithira kayal and resume paddy cultivation there. Renovation of a group of 96 padasekharams comprised in KEL3 were taken up 20 of them have been completed. Kakkathurathu padam in Thanneermukkom Panchayath, Moovarkoottampadam in Thalayazham Panchayath, where paddy cultivation was not possible during the last 25 years, have been renovated and make fit for cultivation.
Major Irrigation Projects.
Steps were taken to complete the Periyar Valley Irrigation Project, Moovattupuzha Valley Irrigation Project, Idamalayar Irrigation Project. Construction and completion of missing links of irrigation canals were taken up. Treatment plants were made compulsory for all drinking water supply projects. Steps initiated for peoples’ involvement and participation for projects like Rainwater Harvesting , Construction and protection of Ground Water Resources. Several Projects were implemented for digging tube wells and distribution of water in water scarce areas of the State. Hand pump project were also implemented liberally for drinking water distribution. KWA instituted 50 new Sub Division Lab for quality testing of Water. Administrative Sanction was given for Rain Water Harvesting Projects in 840 Government Schools. Storage tanks of 10000 litre capacity is to be constructed at each school for which Rs. 50000/- each has been sanctioned.