But this does not seem to be sufficient for this tourism town. Officials are of the view that more than half a dozen of the nine dams and reservoirs supplying water to Udhagamandalam will turn dry well ahead of summer.
It has become tough for residents of the small town to even get drinking water regularly. Situation could worsen with increased tourist flow over the next few weeks, they opine.
“We used to get water every alternate day till two months ago. Now we are getting water only once in 5-7 days,” says P Shanthi (48). President of the Public Awareness Association Ooty (PAAO) G Janardhanan said that some areas in the town were getting water only once in 10-15 days.
Mr Janardhanan attributed poor maintenance of waterbodies and lack of futuristic planning considering the heavy tourist flow as reason for this tough situation. “Some houses are doing good business by pumping water into water tankers and are selling it. This looks good but should be regulated by the district administration, as there is no monitoring on the quantity and quality of water,” he said.
Noting that the State Government has made arrangements to meet the drinking water needs of Chennai city with water from wells in nearby Tiruvallur, he said that such an arrangement will not be possible for Udhagamandalam. “We cannot bring water to Ooty from Coimbatore, as it will be a very expensive and laborious process,” he said.
He said that the district administration should also organise a meeting with various stake holders comprising officials from various departments, local bodies, business community and residents to discuss the water situation and take steps to manage the situation till the situation improves.
He pressed for the government to come out with a short term and long-term action plan for combating the water crisis in the district.