The water need of a religious pilgrimage town in South India would typically be much larger than a regular town where religious pilgrims and ritual activities do not add to the water burden of the municipality. To understand this added water burden, a city scale audit was carried out to estimate the water supply, demand and deficit at Guruvayoor, which is a pilgrimage town in South India. Guruvayoor is popularly known for the Sri Krishna Temple which is visited daily by an average of 10,000 devotees. For the entire municipality, 11,117 open wells, including 144 public wells within the municipal area. The study revealed that increased dependency on ground water sources without proper implementation of rainwater harvesting (RWH) facilities demonstrated a potential threat for the water security of the town. Increased water distribution by water tanker trucks, mostly operated by the unorganized private sector, imported 2.5 MLD of water from the outer bounds of the city to meet the commercial and institutional demand. The results of this investigation showed that urban water security will likely be subject to such external water suppliers, suggesting the need for further research to understand the implications of such a distributed water supply panel on urban water security.
Key words: Urban water security, Pilgrimage town, Guruvayoor, water audit, water demand, South India.
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