Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

At a time when Odisha is experiencing scorching heatwave conditions, around 60,000 residents of Kendrapara township are reeling under an acute drinking water crisis as the Luna river in the district has dried up.

Water is being supplied to the township from the river by the district administration through an intake well at Kalapada and the project has been functional since 2003. However, the system has yet to be fully functional since February as the Luna river has dried up. Now, the situation has gone beyond control in April.

“Luna river is drying up due to maximum dredging of sand from its bed. As a result, residents of Kendrapara are facing an acute drinking water crisis in summer. Apart from drinking water, farmers in the area are also facing problems in irrigating their lands. Local people depend upon the river for their daily chores. As the river is drying up before summer, they are also facing many hardships,” said Damodara Sethi, a local resident.

“Ponds, wells and rivers have dried up in Kendrapara. We are also not able to fetch water from tube wells as the level of groundwater has been reduced a lot. Residents in Kendrapara township are dependent on Luna river. However, the river has dried up compounding the problem of people,” said Bharat Chandra Nayak, another local resident.

As per reports, water is being supplied to the houses of more than 60,000 people from Luna river in Kendrapara town. For this purpose, a water treatment plant has been set up at Samagudia located on the outskirts of Kendrapara. Water from Luna river is supplied to the township after being purified at the plant. While the plant can purify around 27 million litres of water, the township has a requirement of 10 million litre of water daily. Around seven million litres of water is supplied from Luna river to the residents of the town every day.  The rest three million litres of water is supplied from as many as 16 bore wells. 

Under the circumstances, the drying up of Luna river has posed a major challenge in meeting the requirement of drinking water supply in the area.

“Considering the current situation, the water treatment plant will completely stop functioning soon. Somehow, we are managing to fetch some water by digging the river bed. However, if the current situation persists for some more days, situation will be out of control,” said a temporary employee of the plant.

However, Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of Public Health Department in Kendrapara district - Dhiren Kumar Patra assured that the issue will be addressed soon.

“We are fully prepared for the situation. There is nothing to worry. We will supply water to the township as earlier by dredging sand in the river bed to fetch the upper stream water,” said Patra.