Bari: Even as winter season is yet to go, a sharp decline in the water flow in Brahmani river in Jajpur district has sparked fear of a drinking water crisis in the area, a report said.
The river enters the district at Jenapur under Dharmasala block and flows towards Kaipada under Bari block. At many places along its course, the river has gone dry leading to a sharp decline in water flow. The river getting buried at most places and formation of islets are attributed to the decline in the water flow.
This has sparked resentment among residents as Lokanath Das, president of Brahmani Banchao Abhiyan, Gagan Bihari Jena, former block chairman, Kishan Panda, Dharmasala block chairman, Bishnu Charan Mohanty, Raghunath Jena and Basant Parida wrote to Jajpur MLA Pranab Prakash Das and his Bari counterpart Sunanda Das seeking their intervention in making the river perennial.
Reports said that the riverbed going dry has led to depletion in groundwater level in the area which has sparked fear of drinking water crisis ahead of the summer season. As a result, people are spending from their pockets in digging wells and installing tube wells to meet their drinking water needs.
The decline in water flow has left the farmers and fishermen in the area in a lurch as they are dependent on its water for cultivation and fishing. Farmers in over 22 panchayats like Swainkhanda, Sahupada, Mandari, Ishanpur, Sherpur, Bainsria are the worst hit as they have not been getting water to irrigate their farmlands.
The fishermen who earn their livelihood from fishing migrate to other states in search of alternative occupation. The flood in the last season wreaked havoc in the area due to 12 breaches in the right and the left embankments.
Environmentalists fear that the river going dry from the start of the year will seriously affect the availability of drinking water and hit agricultural work.
Government officials at the last District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA) meeting had claimed that the water resources department was taking steps to make the river perennial, January 18, this year. However, their tall claims are yet to materialize.