Chennai: Under fire from residents for non-regular supply of drinking water, Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board has resorted to multiple strategies to satiate parched throats.
The pipe erection work has been started in Mangadu to draw water from 22 quarries located in and around Chennai. The work is expected to complete by June 1 after which the water will be sent to desalination plants.
“Recently, King’s Institute carried lab tests to ensure proper quality of water. The quantity of the water taken from the quarries will depend on the abundance. But, I can assure that the whole city will be benefited,” the board’s spokesperson told Deccan Chronicle.
Another step that the authorities have taken is towards Porur lake, also tested by King’s Institute. Metro Water officials said 4 MLD water will be taken for 100 days and a temporary water treatment plant is being set up right next to the lake to facilitate faster delivery.
“A pipe will be connected to already existing Veeranam pipeline through which it will directly reach the distribution department,” he said. For now, the desalination plants in Minjur and Nemmili are supplying water from agricultural wells of Tiruvallur district and other lakes. The existing water is expected to be sufficient for two months.
Subbramani, Founder of Sabari Green foundation, an NGO to restore waterbodies, said: “The Porur lake is meant for drinking water and it also gets surplus water from Chembarambakkam and Veeranam lakes. Similar projects can be taken up in Manivakkam, Korattur and Ambattur as their capacity is more than 400 acres.”
Vijay, a resident of Thiruvanmiyur, says a new desalination plant is a good idea to meet water shortage. “I am skeptical about fetching water from quarries as they are from areas of low water level,” he said.
New desal plant
With a budget of Rs 1,350 crore, a tender has been floated for a new desalination plant besides the one in Nemmili to cater to the problems of South Chennai. This will increase the water supply to 350 MLD after the government gives a nod. The work will be finished in 30 days after work order is passed, the official said.
Contaminated water adds to woes
Chennai has been facing a major water crisis ever since the onset of summer and now residents of a few areas in the metropolis have different problem to deal with – contaminated water. Residents of Triplicane, Tondiarpet, Washermanpet and West Velachery have been forced to consume contaminated water with sewerage entering drinking water pipelines.
This problem has added to their woes since majority of these residents have been forced to turn to packaged water cans for drinking and cooking needs, making a hole in their pocket.
“This is not only unhygienic, but also pose a threat since it is very easy for waterborne diseases to invade and affect people. Smelly and completely black foamed water is what comes out from metro water pumps. Though we boil that water, we still can use it only for cleaning purposes,” Radha Das, a resident of Arumugam Street in Triplicane, told Deccan Chronicle.
Not just Ms Das, but C. Vishal, a resident of West Velachery, also spoke in the same vein about the water woes of people in the city.
“The tankers that come to West Velachery provide water only to a few people in the locality and others are left high and dry. If we miss the timing of the tanker arriving at the area, we will have to be content with the contaminated water,” Mr Vishal said.
Chennai Metro Water officials told Deccan Chronicle that there have been complaints about leakage in sewerage lines are all efforts are being made to ensure that such things don’t recur. The latest incident could have been fallout of limited water supply to residents in the area through pipeline.
Though metro water claims its response is quick in such cases, residents say they have been forced to spend around Rs 3,000 monthly on purchasing water due to inefficiency of the department.
“We are forced to buy packaged water since the metro water cannot be given to children. We think it is better to spend more money on water cans, than spending it in hospitals,” said Lavanya, a resident of Washermanpet.