Drinks are on the house and there’s plenty of booze on tap in Chalakudy, a town in the Indian state of Kerala where alcohol has tainted the water supply for several homes.
Eighteen families reported “spiritual,” boozy-smelling tap water to local authorities on Monday, Manorama News reports. All of their homes were drawing water from the same neighbourhood well.
Apartment complex owner Joshy Maliyekkal says he noticed the alcohol smell when he switched on a motor to fill a water tank outside his home.
“All of a sudden, the pipe started to smell very bad,” he told the New Indian Express. “We were suspicious as to why such a smell was coming from the water drawn from an open well.”
He said locals have been using the well for years and have never had a problem.
Authorities looked into the matter and discovered that the well had been tainted by a dumping pit filled with 6,000 litres of illegal alcohol, which had been seized from a bar approximately six years ago. The seized spirits had apparently leaked into the water supply, the New Indian Express reports.
“The inspection proved the presence of alcohol in the water, and hence we called the excise officials and informed them of the matter,” V.G. Joji, a local ward councillor, told the New Indian Express.
“We will lend all support to the families affected,” said T.K. Sanu, deputy excise commissioner.
Sanu says it’s not unusual to dispose of alcohol in a pit, but those who dug this one should have taken more care to protect the environment and the public. It’s believed they uncorked 2,000 bottles and poured each one into the hole.
“They were unaware of the presence of an open well nearby, which is why this happened,” he said.
Residents have filed a complaint with the municipal secretary and health department, Manorama News reports.
The bar linked to the booze has offered to supply water for the affected residents while the issue is sorted out.
In the meantime, the case has triggered plenty of laughter on social media.
“Stuff of dreams,” one user tweeted.
“I suppose this would be the adult version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory,” said another person.
A third person said: “‘God’s Own Country’ is where the spirit flows from the tap!”