KWA yet to call for tenders for last leg of water scheme

Though it has been more than eight months since the administrative sanction for laying the distribution pipelines for the Kazhakuttom drinking water scheme was given, the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) is yet to call for tenders for this last leg of the project.

Sources in the KWA told The Hindu in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday that 105 km of distribution pipelines were to be laid if the scheme was to become operational. It would benefit tens of thousands of people living in areas including Kazhakuttam, Ayrooppara, Kadhinamkulam, Mele Thonnakkal, and Keezhe Thonnakkal.

“It has been quite some time since every other work relating to the project was complete,” a senior KWA engineer told The Hindu in Thiruvananthapuram, “the 11million-litres-a-day (mld) treatment plant at Velamcode is ready, the raw water pump house is ready, and so are the pumps. The transmission main lines have been laid… all that remains is the distribution main,” he said.

Sources said even though an eight-month delay was nothing out of the ordinary as far as the authority was concerned, the point was that it need not take this long for a tender to be called for. “In the case of many a project, there is an inevitable cost escalation — however small or big that is — in the gap between the administrative sanction and the calling for the tender. The question is, why should be it take eight months to a year for a tender such as this, where all that remains to be laid are the distribution lines,” a source pointed out.

Once the work was awarded, it would take at least a year to finish laying the distribution main pipelines. It was in December 2011 that the administrative sanction for close to Rs.10 crore for this leg of the project was given, the KWA engineer said. The Kazhakkuttam scheme has as its source the Vamanapuram river and the intake point of raw water is at Ayilamkadavu.

The Nedumangad story

Similarly, a scheme to replace a leaking, 7-km concrete pipeline at Nedumangad has also recently been given the administrative sanction.

The proposal is to replace this pipe with a 500-mm ductile iron (DI) line from the KWA’s treatment plant at Therumala to the Sheelanthimukku. KWA officials said the leak in the present line was so bad that while 13.5 million litres that was pumped out daily from Therumala, the transmission loss came to more than five million litres a day.

More than 75,000 consumers depend on this scheme for their drinking water needs. “The laying of the new line would dramatically improve the water supply situation in the Nedumangad municipality. The situation here is that there is plenty of water at source but very little on the distribution lines,” a KWA engineer familiar with this scheme said.

But then how many months will go by before the KWA gets round to calling for tenders for this work?