For a population of over four lakh in the town and a demand of around 50 million litre per day (MLD), urban water supply department supplied only 37 MLD daily from all sources.
During peak summer, water supply is further reduced, leading to a series of protests in the town this time.
The problem has been aggravated as at least 30 areas of the town are yet to be supplied piped water. The people of these "uncovered" new town areas are seen to track about 4 to 5 km to fetch a bucket of water.
The proposed scheme to draw more water from river Rushikulya with financial assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) faced uncertainty following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The JICA has proposed to fund Rs 250-crore to draw the water through pipe from Janibili, a diversion wire, about 55-km from the town.
"The government will approach other international agencies for funding, if JICA is unable to fund the project in view of the recent natural disaster in Japan," said executive engineer of urban water supply (Berhampur), D S Mohapatra.
He said the process was on to invite an agency for preparation of the detailed project report for the scheme. The project is scheduled to be completed in the next three years.
A scheme of Rs 33-crore was approved by the government to lay the pipe water in the "uncovered" areas of the town. Rs 2 crore was already sanctioned and the project would be started this year, he said.
"Similarly installation of a treatment plant at Dakhinapur reservoir was going on. The Rs 7-crore project was expected to be completed in August. When completed, the town would get at least 15 MLD water more from the reservoir," Mohapatra said.
For immediate solution, the executive engineer said they had planned to supply drinking water through the tanker in every problematic area of the town.