Water shortage in Kochi puts off homebuyers

KOCHI: P Sreejesh, a Bangalore-based software engineer was keen to buy an apartment in Kochi as his second home. But as reports on water shortage in the city emerged he has put his plans on hold. The uncertainty in ensuring steady water supply to high-rise apartment complexes has become a major concern for new homebuyers.

“I have learnt from my friends and relatives in Kochi about the water crisis. I am afraid it would get worse in summer. Most apartments have been relying on water supplied by tanker trucks. The supply systems have been hit by depleting sources and lack of rains. So, I am wary of investing in an apartment in the city,” said Sreejesh.

While the impact of demonetisation was felt in the realty sector, with more money coming into the banks, the sector has been hopeful of a revival in the next six to seven months. However, like the buyers, the builders have been also equally worried about power and water shortages. They blame the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) for not planning new projects for ensuring constant supply of potable water. “It seems the KWA has not been aware of the city’s growth and its needs. Water and power are basic requirements,” said S Gopakumar, a city-based architect and builder.

Speaking about water crisis, Dr CN, Manoj of Pelican Foundation pointed out that water consumption was high in luxury and premium apartments and villas. Showers, bath tubs, toilets, fountains and other luxurious facilities uses up more water.

“Earlier, the average consumption of a person per day was between 100-200 litres. Now this has increased to 500-600 litres,” he said. Water is available but in many areas it is not potable, he added

In Kochi several high-rises have come up on landfills. Many pollutants, waste and debris have been used for filling the land. “Possibly, the leachate has been polluting the groundwater. The presence of dissolved impurities like organic matter, heavy metal deposits, iron content and salinity render the water non-potable,” Manoj said. With the KWA too declaring that it would not be possible for them to provide water connections to apartment complexes coming up in regions hit by severe shortage, the homebuyers have become more cautious.

Government authorities do not have control over the operations of tanker trucks in the city, said Dr Sunny George of SCMS Water Institute, “The source of water, its quality and rates are decided by the operators. Except in apartment complexes the water supplied by the tankers is neither measured nor tested,” he said.

Credits ET Realty

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