Drinking water crisis in south Odisha’s Berhampur is likely to become acute in the coming days as the Rushikulya river, the main source of water supply here, is drying up.

There has been no rainfall in the district since the past few months.

At present, 48 million litre per day (mld) are being supplied to the town from all sources – Dakhinapur impounding reservoir (30 mld), Madhapur water supply project (16 mld) and borewells (2 mld) against the requirement of 54 mld for over four lakh people in the city, officials said.

"The requirement would increase in peak summer," they said, adding that the issue was discussed at a recent high-level meeting presided over by state Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahy.

He asked the water resources department, public health engineering organisation (PHEO) engineers and Berhampur Municipal Corporation officials to coordinate for ensuring smooth water supply in summer.

"Since Rushikulya is drying up, we are in talks with water resources department to divert water from Harabhangi river to Rushikulya. If the water is diverted, there will be no problem to pump out water from the Rushikulya," Sitaram Panda, Executive Engineer, PHED (Berhampur) said.

He said that at least a dozen production wells (underground tankers), constructed at different parts of the city, would be made operational by end of March. The production wells would supply around 50-lakh litres of water.

"We have also decided to install 1,000-litre water tankers at some of the water-scarce areas. Around 80 such areas have been identified," he added.

Besides, the authorities have decided to press at least one tanker in each ward. The city has 40 wards. Water supply through the tankers would also be made to some of the institutions.