Authorities in a Karnataka village have acquiesced to demands from residents to drain a lake after the body of a woman infected with HIV was found floating in it on November 29, reports said. Residents in Morab village of Dharwad district feared that the lake, which is their main source of drinking water in the drought-affected area, has been infected with the virus, Reuters reported. Water is being pumped out of the lake for the last four days.

Panchyat Development Officer Nagaraj Bidralli said that the local body’s members failed to convince the villagers against the idea of draining the lake, The New Indian Express reported. “The villagers themselves took the initiative by providing pipes and other equipment required to pump out water from the lake,” Bidralli said.

After the draining process is complete, the authorities will fill the space with water from the nearby Malaprabha canal by December 20, NDTV reported. Villagers are going to the canal, a few kilometres away, to fetch water for now, according to The Times of India.

Doctors have refuted claims that the locals risk being exposed to HIV if they consume the water. “It is sheer ignorance stemming from lack of awareness. When an HIV-positive person dies, the virus also dies,” Dr Glory Alexander, founder-director of an organisation that treats people suffering from the virus, told The Times of India.

The virus, which causes AIDS, does not spread through air, water or food. It is normally transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected person, or through infected blood or passes on from an infected mother to the baby in her womb or through breastfeeding.