Soaring temperatures have led to a drop in water levels in the rivers
As the summer expands its footprints over Kottayam, the soaring temperatures have left the district high and dry with its major drinking water sources turning to a trickle this season.
While the rivers in Kottayam typically slow down during the dry seasons, officials said this year had brought an unprecedented decline in water levels. Among the most affected include the Meenachil and Manimala rivers, which serve as the foremost sources of drinking water for the district.
Canals also dry
Stretches of these kilometres-long natural wonders are nothing but dry stone, especially in the eastern side of the district. The flow of water in most of the adjoining canals too have dried up by the second half of February.
As per estimates with the Hydrology sub division office in Kottayam, water level in the Manimala river recorded a sharp fall of 62 cms at the hydrology station in Mundakkayam.
The drop in water level in the Meenachil river, meanwhile, appears less drastic with the level of drop pegged at 15 cms and 10 cms respectively at Pala and Peroor.
“Though the flow is at its lowest over the years, the dead storage of water in the river bed and the presence of a few check-dams have reduced the season’s impact on the Meenachil river,”’ pointed out an official.
Besides the rising temperature, a decline in the water storage capacity of river beds caused by the back to back floods since 2018 too have been attributed as a key reason for these rivers to dry up. While the Kodoor and Meenanthara rivers too have been witnessing lean periods, the flow of water in the Muvattupuzha river, which serves the entire Vaikom and Thalayolapparambu region, remains nearly stable.
The sluggish water flow in the rivers, according to officials, has a bearing on the ground water table of the region as well. As per estimates, water level in at least three of the 45 wells under the District Ground Water Department in the third week of February stood 1.5 meters less than the volume recorded during the same period last year .
Thirsty road ahead
“Water table in the remaining wells too have recorded a decline but by an average of 0.5 meters. Given the sharp rise in temperature that hovers around 38 degree Celsius and the corresponding rise in water intake, it is definitely a thirsty road ahead for the residents of Kottayam this summer,” said a senior official.