Chennai: Chennai faced severe water crisis last year. Open wells and borewells dried up. With water level in city’s four major reservoirs in Poondi, Red Hills, Chembarambakkam and Cholavaram plummeting, metro water began tapping water from quarries in Sikkarayapuram and Erumaiyur. More quarries were identified in Pulipakkam, Keerapakkam and Nallambakkam and Kanchipuram district to meet Chennai’s water requirements.
Soon, the state government embarked on a project to bring water from Vellore to Chennai. Chief Minister K. Palaniswami allocated a sum of `65 crore to help mitigate Chennai’s water woes. Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board laid pipelines for drawing water from the storage tank near Jolarpet which receives water under the Vellore Combined Drinking Water Supply Scheme, The special train brought over 2.5 million litres of water from Jolarpet in every trip from July 12. The 50-wagon train carrying 50,000 litres of water in each of them started from Jolarpet at 7 pm every day and reached Chennai by midnight. The water was pumped to Kilpauk water treatment plant and then supplied to Central and North Chennai areas. The second rake also started
operating from Jolarpet in the next few weeks.
The services of the water train were stopped in October when monsoon rains replenished groundwater and filled the reservoirs.
During crisis period, the number of metro water tanker trips was doubled from 6,000/day to 12,000/day amid private water lorries fleecing residents in several areas. The civic body checked out rainwater harvesting structures in residential areas and ensured they were renovated.
The state government’s timely measures helped Chennaiites to manage water crisis till rains arrived.