Chapter 9






Access to safe drinking water plays a fundamental role in economic and social development of a country. The way that people secure their drinking water has a direct impact on their health. Further, it is also central to human right and personal dignity. With high density of population and rapid urbanisation on the one hand, as well as the impact of climate change on the other, availability of utilizable water will be under strain in future, with the possibility of deepening water conflicts among different user groups. Low consciousness about the scarcity of water and its life sustaining nature and inadequate comprehension of its economic value results in its mismanagement, wastage, and inefficient uses. Geographically, Kerala has plenty of water resources and is one of the few states which experiences both North East and South West monsoon. However, due to large spatial and temporal variation in the rainfall system, the abundance of water resources in one season leads to shortage in the next season. Moreover, the undulating topography with steep terrain coupled with deforestation and sand mining results in the decline of ground water recharges, surface soil erosion in water sheds, sedimentation in rivers and drought in summer.


Kerala has 41 west-flowing and 3 east-flowing rivers originating from the Western Ghats. The total annual yield of all these rivers together is 78041 Million Cubic Meters (MCM) of which 70323 MCM is in Kerala. Normal rainfall in the state is 2939.75 mm. About 85 per cent of the annual rainfall is received during the monsoon period, of which 70 per cent is during South West monsoon, 15 per cent during the North East monsoon and the remaining 15 per cent during the non-monsoon period between December and May. The total storage level in reservoirs of completed projects is 1133.76 Mm3.


Box 9.1

Twelvth Plan Focus on Drinking Water


Twelvth Plan envisages providing households with safe piped drinking water supply at the rate of 70 lpcd from the existing norm of 40 lpcd ( litres per capita per day). At the end of 2017, at least 35 per cent of rural population should have individual household pipe connections. Convergence between drinking water supply and sanitation will be strengthened. The weakest aspect of rural water supply is Operation and Maintenance (O&M). Allocation for O&M has been increased from 10 per cent of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) to 15 per cent in the Twelfth Plan. All new drinking water supply schemes will be designed, estimated and implemented to take into account life cycle costs and not just per capita capital costs. All community toilets built with public funds and maintained for public use will be provided with running water supply under NRDWP. Waste water treatment and recycling will be an integral part of every water supply plan


Access to safe drinking water in Kerala


9.2 Kerala has been considered as a model to show how it is possible to achieve both growth and improved income distribution through human development. Unfortunately Kerala has not done well in the drinking water segment. Safe drinking water remains out of reach for more than 65 per cent of the households in the State. Only 29.3 per cent of the houses in the State are serviced by the tap water supply network and just 34 per cent gets safe water supply which is 52 per cent less than the national average and 57 and 59 per cent less than our neighbouring states Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu respectively. The rural-urban gap is also widening, total urban population getting safe water to the total population has been reduced from 42.85 in 2001 to 39.4 per cent in 2011.


Fig 9.1

Access to Safe Drinking Water


Source: Economic Survey 2012-2013, GoI


9.3 Sixty-two per cent of the households in Kerala depend on wells for drinking water purpose, 1.4 per cent of houses rely on springs, 0.2 per cent on rivers and canals and 0.7 per cent on tanks, ponds and lakes, exposing themselves to bacterial and chemical contamination. While 0.7 per cent apply hand pumps to draw water, 3.7 per cent are serviced by tube wells and 2 per cent of households getting drinking water in other ways.


9.4 Based on the distance of water source available, Census of India 2011 classified water availability into three category such as Within the premise, Near the premise and Away from premise *. In Kerala 78 percent of the people availed drinking water from their own premises, 14 percent of the people depending upon Near the premises and 8 percent Away from the premises (Appendix 9.1). However, 
in Idukki district, 27 percent of the people depended on Away from the premises, 31 percent from Near the premise, and 41 percent within premises and for Wayanad it is 16 percent, 24 percent and 60 percent respectively.


Fig 9.2

Source wise drinking water availability in Kerala


Source: Census of India 2011


9.5 In rural Kerala, 72 percent of people have drinking water within the premises. District wise, Kollam has the highest access of 85 percent and Idukki has the lowest access of 39 percent. Among urban regions, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta have the highest levels of more than 86 percent within premises and Wayanad has the lowest level of 74 percent (Appendix 9.2). In Alappuzha nearly 11 percent of urban people do not have drinking water access within or nearby premises.


9.6 Rural drinking water is one of the six components of Bharat Nirman, the rural infrastructure programme of the country. Even if the existing schemes have greatly increased the coverage of safe drinking water in the rural areas of the country, the provision of drinking water to rural areas is fraught with problems. Many habitations which once came under the “covered” status have been found to slip down to the “partially covered” or even “uncovered” status. As per the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, GoI, there are 11883 habitations in Kerala, of which 934 habitations have been slipped back in 2011-12.The highest frequency reported in Alappuzha is 19 percent, followed by Palakkad at 18 percent and then Kasargode by nearly 14 percent (Appendix 9.3).


Quality of drinking water in Kerala


9.7 Kerala is the most vulnerable state in the country in terms of water quality parameter. People in Kerala generally depend upon well water system. Around 75 percent of rural people do not have access to piped drinking water system and lack of piped water connection enhances the level of bacterial and chemical contaminations in the drinking water. It is indicated that 39.9 percent of rural drinking water in Kerala has been contaminated with Iron, Fluoride, Salinity, Nitrate, Arsenic, Faecal coliform and other multiple contaminations. Unscientific waste disposal, unplanned construction of toilets in highly populated areas, discharge of industrial waste etc. are the major reasons. Most of the states which had chemical and bacterial contaminations have been successful in reducing the contamination level. National average indication of bacterial and chemical contamination as per Field Kit Test by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation was 11.08 per cent in 2012, which has been reduced to 7.2 per cent in 2013, whereas in Kerala it has increased from 33.74 per cent to 39.9per cent in 2013.


Fig 9.3

Quality of Drinking Water in Kerala


 Source: Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation,GoI,(FTK Test)


9.8 District wise analysis shows that the highest contamination is in Kozhikode as 55 per cent of  tested sources indicated bacterial and chemical contamination and Idukki experiences a low level.  Except Palakkad, in all the districts the level of drinking water is worsening, the highest increase in quality  affected district over previous year is Malappuram, where zero level of contamination was reported in 2012 and now 15 per cent of sources are indicated as contaminated. Kottayam and Kollam are also in a highly vulnerable position.


Fig 9.4

District wise indication of contaminated water


9.9 Among the districts, Alappuzha and Palakkad are fluoride affected regions and Thiruvananthapuram dominatess in bacteriological contamination of faecal e-coli. Multiple contaminations seem high in Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha.


Reasons for Demand Supply Gap


9.10 The primary concern for drinking water is whether there is enough water to address the consumer demand, both at present and in future. Due to the rapid urbanization, the gap between the demand for and supply of water has been widening over the years. Water is mainly needed for irrigation and domestic requirement. The potential utilization of available ground water resource in Kerala is 43.24 per cent. The net ground water availability in Kerala is 6229.03 MCM, of which 59.25 per cent is utilized for irrigation purpose and 40.74 per cent is used for domestic and industrial purpose. Present drinking water demand is at 645 million litres / day and the projected water requirement by the year 2021 in the industrial sector is 4270Mm3 and for domestic requirement is at 3230 Mm3.The supply availability and demand side factors which influence water availability and sustainability in the state noted below:


Box 9.2

Factors influencing water Availability and Sustainability


Supply side factors

Demand side factors

Primary and back up water sources

Increasing population

Storage capacity

Consumption pattern

Climate change




9.11 Although Kerala has 44 rivers, as per the national norms, the state does not have any single major river and has only four medium rivers, the combined discharge of which is less than half of that river Krishna. The remaining 40 rivers are only minor ones and the combined discharge is only about one – third that of the Godavari. In contrast to our neighbouring states, the availability of annual  replenishable ground water and extraction of potential ground water are low. Fall in the cultivable land particularly paddy field is one of the major reasons for the low level of ground water development in the state. Recharge of potential resources through the conservation of wetland is a pre-requisite for long term need of the state. Ministy of Water Resource observed that the depth of ground water level in Kerala during 2012 ranged from 0.10 m bgl (below the ground level) in Alappuzha district to 38.28 m bgl in Idukki district. It is found that 18 per cent of the wells have less than 2 m bgl water level, mainly in coastal areas. About 32 per cent of the wells show water level in the range of 2-5 m bgl. About 37 per cent wells have shown water level in the range of 5-10 m bgl, 11per cent wells with 10 to 20 m bgl water level and the remaining 1 per cent wells having > 20 m bgl water level. Deeper water level > 20 m bgl are observed in Idukki district only.


Fig 9.5

Depth to Water Level of Kerala


Source:Central Water Resource Board,MoWR,GoI.


9.12 Open well density in Kerala is perhaps the highest in the country with 200 wells per in the coastal region, 150 wells per in the midland and 70 wells per in the high land. Due to change of land use pattern, abandoning of water bodies and less water storage facility, the water levels in these wells have been declining. During 2011-12, 69 per cent wells in Kerala experienced a high fall in water level while Andhra Pradesh experienced a rising level of 65 per cent and for Tamil Nadu the fall in well water was 49 per cent and country’s average fall in well water was 54 per cent respectively. The decadal (mean) comparison of Pre Monsoon water level of 2003-12 shows that about 71 per cent of wells have declined in water level, of which 63 per cent of the wells fall in the range of 0-2m.


Fig 9.6

State wise fall in well water level 2011-12


Source:Ground Water Level Scenario in India,Min.of Water Resources,GoI


9.13 Climate change and rising sea level are expected to intensify the resource sustainability problem in many water-stressed regions in Kerala by the way of reducing the annual supply of renewable fresh water and promoting the intrusion of saline water into aquifers along sea coasts.


9.14 Forests hold much of the rainfall to the soil through roots of trees. The rain water sinks in deeper to the ground and eventually replenishes the supply of water in the water bodies. Therefore deforestation is a threat to the sustainability of water resources. Deforestation has two impacts, firstly it affects the replenishing capacity of water bodies and secondly the water from rain is not enabled to stay in the soil longer. This has been observed in the Western Ghats region in Kerala. Most of the rivers originating from Western Ghats have been affected by the large-scale deforestation which results in the lower storage capacity of the soils. This increased the surface soil in water sheds and sedimentations in the rivers. Deforestation also affects the river ecology and water quality across the length and beneath the rivers. Kerala’s forest land have been diminishing so fast that within the next 50 years, the quantum of forest and related natural resources will reach at a level much below the minimum required for sustaining life .It is estimated that additional forest land to the existing forest land is reduced from 1689 sq.kl.m in the period 2003-05 into 40 sq.kl.m in 2005-07 and has become negative by 24% during 2007-09. To maintain a balanced environment and optimum climate, Kerala should call for rational and dynamic approach which includes conservation of biodiversity, rehabilitation of degraded natural forests through protection and care, promotion of agro forestry and social forestry for meeting local needs and promotion of effective forest activities particularly plantation forestry.


9.15 Currently, there are enormous losses in the water distribution system in Kerala. It is estimated that nearly 40 percent water has to be counted as the distribution loss. Lack of repair/replacement of old pipe lines, pumps motors and electrical installations are major reasons for this huge loss. This necessitates comprehensive engineering solutions and these must be complemented with social response from end users. As on 2009-10, Kerala Water Authority produced water at the rate of 1890.64 million litres per day (mlpd) and distributed at the rate of 1417.90 mlpd through piped water supply system. The unaccounted for water (ufw) is 472.74 mld, which implies that the estimated distribution loss of water produced is 25 per cent. Production and supply of water by Kerala Water Authority for the period 2005-06 to 2009-10 is given in the Fig. 9.8.


Fig 9.7

Production and distribution of Water


Source :Kerala Water Authority


9.16 Urbanisation imposes heavy pressure on civic amenities. As the pace of urbanisation grows, providing safe drinking water to urban people has become increasingly challenging. These challenges emerge for two reasons: one from the ever increasing demand both from domestic as well as industrial needs and second, the dependence on water sources which are located at faraway places.


Fig 9.8

Urbanization in Kerala




9.17 The pace of urbanization in Kerala is high as compared to other states in India. In 1970’s the proportion of urban people to the total people in Kerala was less than the national average and was the least one among the southern states. Conversely, the post liberalized period showed a reverse trend since the population density and economic activities surpassed environment conservations as well as the ecosystems. Major problems associated with rapid urbanization are lack of universal accessibility of drinking water, ineffective distribution of water supply, deprivation among the people, high level of pollution, water shortage, wastage due to old leaking pipeline etc. Primary source of pollution in the urban region is the untreated industrial and domestic wastewater. Even if technical solutions have improved significantly, wastewater treatment is still a problem in Kerala. Industries discharge hazardous pollutants like phosphates, sulphides, ammonia, fluorides, heavy metals and insecticides into the rivers. Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment estimated that nearly 260 million litres of industrial effluents reach the Periyar estuary daily from the Kochi industrial belt. It is noticed that rivers such as Chalakudy, Muvattupuzha, Meenachil, Pamba and Achenkovil are highly polluted with bacteriological contamination.


Coverage of Water Supply Schemes

9.18 Kerala Water Authority (KWA) is the primary drinking water supplier in the state. It covers 94 percent of total piped water supply in Kerala. Other agencies which provide water supply in rural area are Kerala Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (KRWSA) and Local Self Government Institutions (LSGIs). KRWSA and LSGIs have been ensuring community participation in implementation of water supply schemes by sharing the financial costs and taking responsibility in management, operation and maintenance to some extent.


9.19 Total water supply schemes operating under KWA is 2214, of which 72 are urban water supply schemes and 2142 are rural water supply schemes. As on 31.09.2013, the existing water supply schemes in Kerala have covered 79 percent of the total population. In urban population, more than 85 per cent have been covered and in rural area more than 77 per cent reported as covered. District wise Ernakulam received the highest coverage of 97 percent and Kozhikode reported as the lowest coverage of little over 55 percent.(Appendix 9.4) For rural water supply coverage, again Ernakulam tops with 98 percent and Kozhikode is the lowest coverage district of nearly 42 percent. In urban area, Malappuram is the highest covered district of 99 percent and Wayanad is the lowest one with 50 percent.


9.20 Additional coverage during the period 2012-13 is 7.33 lakh people. The whole additional coverage is reported from rural coverage supplemented by 14 additional Single Panchayat Schemes 11 Multi Panchayat Schemes and one urban water supply scheme. This rural additional coverage is reported from 9 districts and the remaining 5 districts viz.Alappuzha,Ernakulam,Palakkad,Kannur and Kasaragod have been reported as zero additional coverage for the period of 2012-13. Kottayam has the highest additional rural coverage of 2.33 lakh people, followed by Kollam as 1.57 lakh people.


Fig 9.9

Coverage of Water Supply Schemes in Kerala


Source:Kerala Water Authority


Plan Fund Utilization Pattern


9.21 Kerala is getting financial assistance from State government, Central government, Assistance from NABARD, External Aided fund through Jalanidhi / JICA Projects, Local Self government and community development programmes. Unfortunately, domestic private investment on drinking  water in Kerala is diminutive. Apart from that, the utilization of the available resources for  innovative programme is also negligible. Plan fund is the major source of investment in Kerala. The utilization pattern of the Plan fund as compared with other states in India is lower than desirable level. Our neighbouring states have been utilizing almost the entire amount and even more than the released amount. Kerala is the only state which disappointingly under utilizes the available plan funds among south Indian states. When our neighbouring states utilize more than 95 per cent of their plan funds we utilize is only 56.58 per cent which is nearly 40 per cent lower than the national average.  Unawareness of the urgency of water preservation, non-availability of professional expertise to initiate innovative programmes and administrative hurdles are the major reasons of this laggard approach.


Fig 9.10

State wise Plan fund utilization


Source: Planning Commission, GoI.


Water Management


1.10 Kerala’s density of population as per 2011 census is 860 persons / sq. km. It is much higher than that of India (382). Thiruvananthapuram is the most densely populated district (1508) while, Idukki is the least densely populated district (255).Density of population has increased in all districts compared to 2001 census but for Pathanamthitta (-16) and Idukki (-4), it has declined.


9.22 Developed nations and other high income countries are projected to reduce their overall water consumption across sectors by 2050 through better water management measures and reduction in per capita water consumption. Yet no initiative has been undertaken in Kerala to reduce  water consumption.Nearly 30 per cent of water produced by Kerala Water Authority is to be  considered as distributional loss due to the fact that the pipes are very old and tend to leak. We are lagging in integrated water resource management by means of coordinated use by location and use. Ensuring sufficient water in entire system to support various uses and distributed across districts is a pre requisite one. Kerala needs effective methods on demand side management through  competitive price, training of recycling and reuse of water and cost benefit analysis by proper assessment of opportunity costs. Rain water harvesting is an effective process to utilize the natural gift. Rainwater harvesting has made mandatory in all new buildings having a specific area in the states of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Rajasthan,Maharashtra and Gujarat but in Kerala it is still not a mandatory.


Box 9.3

UK Model of Water Use Efficiency

In the UK, water companies have a statutory duty to promote the efficient use of water and as a result, water companies carry out a range of water efficiency activities with the purpose of promoting water efficiency to their customers. This water efficiency activity has been a duty under the Water Industry Act. The date wise targets for water savings have been set by water companies themselves. These targets can be achieved by either targeting domestic or industrial customers, but the targets must be met year on year. The main features are An annual target to save an estimated one litre of water per property per day through water efficiency activity, during the period 2010–11 to 2014–15, requirement to provide a minimum level of information to consumers on how to use water more wisely and the requirement that each company actively helps to improve the evidence base for water efficiency. In addition to target setting, number of NGOs focussing on decreasing water consumption, water conservation, promotes the efficient use of water resources and provides information and guidance on best practice in water use.



Water Supply Programmes




9.23 Jalanidhi is a World Bank aided rural water supply and Sanitation project. It is based on the  cardinal concept of sector reform like demand responsiveness, community ownership and sustainability of investment through cost recovery. Kerala Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (KRWSA) is the  implementing agency functioning under the Department of Water Resource, Govt. of Kerala. Activities under Jalanidhi are Small Water supply schemes, comprehensive water supply scheme,construction of latrine, ground water recharge, EMP and drainage works.Jalanidhi – II is targeted to complete the entire project within 5 ½ years from 01-01-2012 to 30-06-2017.Physical target of the scheme is to cover about 18 lakh rural people for water supply and sanitation services. The project will cover 200 Grama Panchayat of Kerala. The Grama Panchayat has been selected from the neediest 8 district of Kerala. Physical achievements of Jalanidhi is given in the (Appendix 9.5 and 9.6)


JBIC Assisted Kerala Water Supply Project


9.24 The JBIC assisted Kerala Water Supply Project currently known as JICA assisted Kerala Water Supply Project envisages the implementation of five water supply projects at Thiruvananthapuram, Meenad, Cherthala, Kozhikode and Pattuvam at a revised estimated cost of ` 2987.40 crores. There are 23 contract packages primarily planned. Of which 11 are International Competitive Bidding (ICB) packages and 12 are Local Competitive Bidding (LCB) packages. Out of these 23 contracts 21 were awarded and the construction activities are under progress. The remaining two contract packages are the rehabilitation of existing components of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode water supply schemes which are in the stage of finalization. Duration of the scheme is 2003 to 2015. The status of work completion as on 31.08.2013 stands at 93.53 per cent in Thiruvananthapuram, 92.46 per cent for Meenad, 100 per cent for Cherthala, 82.09 per cent for Kozhikode and 94.07 per cent for Pattuvam. Tender formulation for package 3 balance works and Package 5 rehabilitation works of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikkode. are under finalization.


Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme

9.25 Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) was introduced in 1972 to assist states and union territories to implement drinking water supply schemes in villages. The entire programme was given a Mission approach when the Technology Mission Scheme on Drinking Water Management, called the NDWM was introduced in 1986. NDWM was renamed as Rajeev Gandhi Rural 
Drinking Water Mission. As per the guidelines of National Drinking Water Programme, Government of India has strictly instructed the state government to share the total project cost of the ongoing/ new schemes under ARWSP approved by the State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) in the ratio 50:50 between the centre and the state governments. Objective of the scheme is to meet the emerging challenge in the rural drinking water sector related to availability, sustainability and
quality of water. Components pertaining to the State under this programme are coverage,
sustainability, quality, natural calamities, operation and management (O&M) and support activities. The funding pattern will be 47 per cent for coverage, 20 per cent for water quality, 15 per cent for O&M, 10 per cent for sustainability, 5 per cent for support activities and 3 per cent for water quality monitoring and surveillance (WQM&S).For coverage, O&M and quality the cost sharing is 50:50 basis and for sustainability, support activities and WQM&S it is 100 % grant in aid from Central 
Government. There are 153 ongoing ARWSP schemes sharing central-state funds.


Varsha- Rain Water Harvesting


9.26 The scheme is to collect rainwater from the rooftop and store it in a tank from where water will be drawn by the beneficiaries.After completion, the project shall be handed over to the beneficiaries. Kerala Water Authority has completed 4532 units of Varsha in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Ernakulam. In the SLSSC, 1500 double family units of Varsha schemes amounting ` 540.00 lakh had been sanctioned for Idukki and Kottayam districts.


For more details in performence of Kerala Water Authority, refer Appendix 9.7, 9.8, 9.9, 9.10, 9.11, 9.12, 9.13 and 9.14


Water Management


Suggestions for better Water Management

  • • Even if a good portion of fund is flowing into the drinking water sector through state, central and external aided projects, the household water supply connection is very low as compared with other parts of the country. Even the north eastern states which have almost similar topography have more tap water supply connections than Kerala.


  • • Universal presence of bacterial and chemical contamination is a common observable fact across the state. A number of studies show that existence of faecal contamination in wells of Kerala is high.


  • • Schemes are designed for a minimum per capita supply of 40 lpcd. But the actual availability of water at the end user is far less than this level. Majority of water supply schemes are running without proper operation and maintenance.


  • • There are number of hour based water supply schemes existing in Kerala, most of it working unsatisfactorily. Comprehensive Regional Rural Water Supply Schemes covering more than 2 Grama Panchayats are designed for 24 hours operation, but it is not functioning at the desirable level due to the non availability of power during the peak hours from 6 to 10 pm.


  • • Water is used for the purposes of irrigation, industry, generation of hydel power and recreation (tourism) etc. But there is no specific norm for the utilization of distributional water in Kerala. The result is a quantum of drinking water is used for the non drinking purposes. It reflects the inefficiency of management of available water resources in Kerala.


  • • Depletion of lake area, changing in land use pattern and modification of Lake water, increased pollution, aggressive growth of water weeds, continuous dredging operations and other developmental interventions have led to substantial decline in species diversity and population diversity of flora and fauna.


  • • More than 80 per cent of the people in Kuttanadu are reported to be relying on the contaminated canal water for their daily needs. For Vembanadu 
    Kayal, the rapid shrinkage of flood carrying 
    capacity of the Lake reached by 78 per cent, it happened due to the reduction in its area and depth.
  • • Inadequate technical support for integrated water resource planning at Local Self Governments.
  • • Maximum priority should be given to users, involving them in the planning and decision making process and giving them first rights over the benefits of the project. Considering the financial constraints and managerial limitations of governments, private sector involvement could be encouraged in drinking water d velopment and management of the projects. Public and Private Partnership (PPP) model and a mix of public and private
    financing for the provision of services and infrastructure 
    may be considered.


  • • Urgency of water audits may considered for quality aspects. Continuous water supply is essential to maintain the pressures in the pipes which block the deposits of effluents in the pipes. Direct disposal of liquid and solid wastes into rivers and reservoirs should be banned. Scientific waste management practices are to be strictly adopted to minimize pollution threats from urban centers.


  • • Systematic approach for identification and reduction of leakage and preventive maintenance should be promoted to save quantities of treated water and increase revenues to make systems self-sustaining.


  • • To ensure sufficient water in the entire system to support all the various uses of water and distribute equitably across space and users, Integrated Water Resource Management is essential. It needs coordinated and area specific approaches which involves large scale planning and implementation. Comprehensive plan for participatory groundwater management based on aquifer understanding of domestic water security, food and livelihood security and eco-system security, equitable distribution of drinking water across all stakeholders.


  • • Since groundwater is the basic source of drinking 
    water in Kerala, a participatory approach to sustainable management of groundwater based on aquifer mapping is essential. The exercise of aquifer mapping will provide a foundation to this effort by enabling local planners to gain an understanding of the groundwater recharge areas, assessment of each individual aquifer in terms of groundwater storage and transmission characteristics, including the aquifer storage capacity and ground water balance.


  • • Construction of subsurface dykes along the downstream of narrow valleys up to the basement to raising the ground water tables and preventing the depletion in surface water level.Check dams can be used to save the floodwater that routinely drains into the sea and the impounded surface water can be utilized directly for many purposes.


  • • Protecting traditional ponds is an excellent way to conserve aquatic biodiversity and filling up of these valuable ponds would adversely affect the recharging capacity of the soil.


Water, which was till recently considered a free good, has become scarce and unless carefully managed, can become a highly priced economic good in future. All efforts should be made to ensure that the basic human entitlement of safe and adequate drinking water is available to all. Top priority should be given to sound water management through active participation of all users and effective regulation by government.