By P.T. Bopanna
With some of the wards in Madikeri, the headquarters of Kodagu (Coorg) district in Karnataka, getting drinking water supply on alternate days even before the onset of summer, the homestay sector could be in serious trouble in the coming months.
Though Kodagu received unprecedented rains in the last monsoon triggering huge landslides, the water bodies in the district have already dried up, leading to concerns of severe drought.
Geologists have been quoted as saying that the imbalance in water table could continue for a few more years in areas affected by the landslides. All these years, the residents in the affected areas were dependent on natural springs which have dried up now.
Following the unprecedented rains last August, most of the water bodies supplying water to Madikeri, including Kootpole, Pampinakere, Kannada Bane and Roshanarakere, the water level had reached the brim. But there has been a sudden drop in the water levels in the reservoirs, causing concern of a serious scarcity in the summer months.
The Karnataka government should order a study to find out why despite the water bodies filling up in the monsoon, water has suddenly started drying up even before the onset of summer. Steps should be taken to improve the water table, especially in and around Madikeri, the hub of the homestay industry in Kodagu.
Due to the low water levels, water supply has already been restricted to alternate days in wards like Mahadevpet, Ganapathi Beedi and Ranipet in Madikeri.
The Madikeri City Municipal Council has cautioned residents of Madikeri to use water judiciously because of the scarcity conditions.
If the trend continues, the CMC and the district administration may have to order closure of the homestays in Kodagu to ensure water supplies to the permanent residents.
But the CMC has to explain to the people why still there is no assured water supply to the residents of Madikeri. Faulty planning and corruption has ensured that the residents are starved of water in the summer months.
It is time the Kodagu district administration and Karnataka government stepped in to ensure adequate supply of drinking water in Madikeri, which has emerged as a hot tourist destination in South India.