Water, water everywhere in Kerala, but very little to drink

July 13th, 2008 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

By T.G. Biju
Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) Boasting of sufficient rainfall, 44 rivers, thousands of streams and a number of lakes, Kerala ironically has less water available per person than drought-hit states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, says a World Bank report. The report cited the unusual lie of the coastal state’s land that allows 40 percent of its rainwater to flow wastefully into the sea and its increasing population as the reason.

Kerala, often referred to as ‘god’s own country’, receives three times more rainfall than other parts of India.

The water scarcity issue was raised in a World Bank report published to explain the success of implementation of the ‘Jalanidhi project’, a state government initiative to provide water facilities in rural areas.

The World Bank is supporting the project with a loan of $65.5 million - now reduced to $53.2 million after funds were diverted for tsunami reconstruction work in the state.

K. Prasannakumar, an official overlooking the Jalanidhi project, told IANS that the World Bank report is based on the information provided by the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM), an autonomous research organisation in Kerala.

Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran told IANS that while making a statement in the legislative assembly last week, he had spoken of the increasing demand for water in the state.

Around 3,681 water supply schemes, managed by beneficiary groups, have been completed through the Jalanidhi project in the first phase, he added.

The second phase of the scheme would be completed by September 2009, the minister added.

The World Bank report also dwelt on how the people of the ’spice-scented corner of the Malabar coast’ - which is drying up - have for the first time in years not starved of water between February and May.

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