Indian authorities drained lake to allay local fears of HIV contamination

Alicia Farmer
December 7, 2018

Officials are reportedly draining a 36-acre lake in Moraba village in Dharwad after villagers refused to use the lake water, following the discovery of the body of a woman, who was Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-positive, in the lake, on November 29. When villagers found about the dead woman being HIV-positive, panic spread causing them to approach authorities to request for the lake to be drained. But the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) spreads only through body fluids and outside the human body, the virus can not survive beyond minutes in air or water.

Residents of the village of Morab, near Dharwad, are now facing the prospect of having to walk several kilometres per day to get drinking water after they made a decision to drain all the water from a nearby lake.

The lake spread over 23 acres of land locally known as Jagirdar's lake is the only source of drinking water for locals. In spite of the district administration trying to convince the villagers that the waters are safe, nobody is ready to listen. They have decided, and they refill it with water and only then use it for consumption.

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The lake is the only source of drinking water in the area and the source of water for irrigation.

Doctors have dismissed claims that the locals risk being exposed to HIV if they consume the water. "The authorities must drain out water and fill it with fresh water to save the lives of villagers". "The villagers themselves took the initiative by providing pipes and other equipment required to pump out water from the lake", Bidralli said. There is another problem, though. "We will need 1-2 weeks to empty and fill the lake". "The decision was also approved by the local panchayat", Naveen Hullur, tehsildar of Navalgund taluk, said. The Malaprabha Right Bank Canal will be closed after December 8.

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