Chennai Metrowater has launched a survey of infrastructure available for water supply and sewerage facilities in areas that were merged with the Chennai Corporation.

This exercise would help the water agency prepare plans for extending its coverage to these areas. Metrowater is now catering for a population of 50 lakh. The customer base is expected to increase by 17 lakh when the new areas are covered.

Of about 800 million litres of water a day (mld) supplied to the city, nearly 710 mld is transmitted through pipeline. It is estimated that the demand of the expanded city would be 1,044 mld. Similarly, Metrowater has to provide infrastructure to treat and dispose an additional 219 mld of sewage estimated to be generated in the merged areas.

Sources in the water agency said teams of officials are involved in surveying the infrastructure and assessing the requirement of each of the wards in the extended areas. (The number of wards of the Chennai Corporation increased from 155 to 200 and the number of zones from 10 to 15).

This includes population to be served, number of streets, houses and the existing overhead tanks and hand pumps. While some parts of the merged areas such as Valasaravakkam, Alandur and Madhavaram have piped water supply or sewerage network, the water agency started implementing such projects in Ambattur, Manali and Tiruvottiyur.

However, panchayats that have been merged with city are yet to be covered.

The number of area offices would also be changed to correspond with the civic body's zones. While the existing 155 depot offices would be reduced to 107, 93 more from merged areas would be added. At present, each depot office serves a population of about 50,000. The coverage of the depot office would increase by 20,000 as two or three wards have been merged into one, sources said.

The locations for housing area offices except for Ambattur, which already has an urbanised area office in Mogappair, and for additional depot offices are being identified, an official of Metrowater said. Officials said assets in the expanded parts are also being surveyed. The water agency is also in the process of studying the possibility of absorbing personnel from the local bodies for the additional manpower required.

Once the survey is completed in a month, Metrowater plans to cover the localities that are yet to be served with tanker supply. There are also proposals to construct sewage treatment plants in Mangadu and Villivakkam as part of the plans to put in place infrastructure on a par with the city in areas that have been merged.

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