Balance tilts in favour of piped water

No desalination-cum-reverse osmosis plants will be set up in coastal areas of the city as piped drinking water supply has been found to be more viable, in terms of sustainability.

A year ago, the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) conceived a project to set up seven plants in the coastal belt, but now it has been abandoned, sources in the KWA told The Hindu .

The huge maintenance cost prompted the KWA to do a rethink on setting up the plants. “The membrane of a reverse osmosis plant needs to be replaced periodically. The membrane needs to be imported and the cost involved is huge,” a senior KWA official said.

Number of schemes

Besides, an assessment made by the KWA showed that there were a number of schemes under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-aided water supply scheme for the coastal areas, including that for replacement of pipelines, some of them with the assistance of the city Corporation, the official said.

“Some of the projects have been completed, and others are in the final stages. Once the projects are completed, drinking water scarcity in the coastal belt will be a thing of the past. Instead of starting a project afresh, it’s better to speed up these ongoing projects,” he said.

However, two spots at Varkala — Vettor Malappuram Pally and Vettor Fishermen Colony — have been retained for setting up the plants, along with other places in Kollam, Kuttanad, Thrissur, and Kasaragod, he said.

Permanent solution

The project, conceived as a permanent solution to the drinking water scarcity in the coastal belts, will be implemented with the assistance of local bodies.

The plan is to supply 20 litres portable water at Rs.1. The plants will draw water from the available resources and treat it using the reverse osmosis technology.

In case, water is not available from conventional sources it will be drawn from the sea and desalinated, the official said.

Earlier, the KWA planned to establish stationary plants at Veli (with a capacity of 2,000 litres per hour), Pozhiyoor (5,000 litres), and Muthalapozhi harbour site (2,500 litres). Mobile units, expected to reach out to more people, were to be primarily based at Vettukad (2,000 litres), Poovar (5,000 litres), Anchuthengu (2,500 litres), and Puthiyathura (5,000 litres).