400 borewells to be sunk in suburbs to meet city’s water demand, says Corporation Commissioner

In a move to regulate the supply of drinking water, the Municipal Corporation has decided to restrict by 50 per cent the supply of water to bulk buyers such as marriage halls and apartments blocks.

The decision, which will come into effect from April 1, has been taken to prevent water tankers from getting diverted to private buyers and instead to deploy them in areas where people depend on the civic body for water.

The Corporation has17 water tankers, of which 10 are on contract, five run by the Corporation and two are kept as reserve. Each tanker, with a capacity of 8,000 litres, makes 10 trips a day, depending on the demand and season.

Corporation Commissioner R. Nanthagopal told The Hindu on Friday that water was supplied to bulk buyers at a subsidised rate of Rs.570 per tanker as and when required. “But during the peak summer season, when water is scarce, their total needs cannot be met as residents in many other areas depend on water supplied by Corporation tankers. The frequency of trips to the areas where borewells have gone dry can also be increased,” he said.

The drinking water requirement for Madurai Corporation, which has 100 wards, is around 220 million litres a day (MLD), of which 115 million litres are drawn from Vaigai dam. To augment water sources in time for the ensuing summer and prevent scarcity, the Corporation plans to sink 400 deep borewells in the city fringes soon. “The work will start on April 15. We will avail the expertise of hydrologists from the Tamil Nadu Water and Drainage Board (TWAD) and the Public Works Department in identifying the groundwater potential in various areas. Through the new borewells, we are expecting to tap additional 25 MLD,” Mr. Nanthagopal said.

A. Mathuram, City Engineer in-charge, said that the 400 borewells will be ready for operation by May 15. “In anticipation of a water crisis, we want to have a plan of action ready. The TWAD team will explore the possibilities and based on its report, the Corporation will sink borewells in the city peripheries from where drinking water will be supplied to the city,” he added. The Corporation has sunk 2,050 borewells and potable water is filled in 20 plastic tanks, with a capacity of 1,500 litres, in every ward.

Mr. Nanthagopal said that a ward-specific micro plan was prepared by the Corporation by taking into account the number of wells in that locality and water yield. Irrigation wells in areas annexed recently had been identified. “We have stepped up “water vigilance” and action will be taken against those who are illegally tapping water using motor pumps. Water connections of such persons will be severed and our engineers are inspecting every area,” he said.

The Corporation’s total population is around 16 lakhs and out of the daily water requirement of nearly 220 million litres, 140 MLD is supplied. Earlier, it had 72 wards and another 28 were added to the civic body last year.

According to Mr. Mathuram, the per capita requirement of water in the city is 135 litres a day and the civic body supplies 90 litres.

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