Repeated power failures on Wednesday and Thursday at the 72 mld treatment plant of the Kerala Water Authority at Aruvikkara resulted in a large-scale disruption of drinking water supply to many parts of the city on Thursday.
The brunt of the disruption was borne by those areas serviced by the reservoir at Peroorkada. Even late on Thursday night, the water level in the reservoir had not returned to normal levels.
The problems at Aruvikkara began on Wednesday morning when there was an hour-long disruption in power supply to the 74 mld plant and to the 36 mld booster station.
The first of the major problems occurred at 9 p.m. on Wednesday when there was a cable burn out. Immediately one of the five pumps stopped functioning. This fault was rectified only after two hours. Then, by 5 a.m. on Thursday, three ‘Drop Out Fuses' at the 11 kV feeder blew, bringing the plant to crash stop. Power supply was restored only at around 8 a.m.
These repeated power disruptions played havoc with the water level at the Peroorkada reservoir. According to KWA officials, there was virtually no water at this reservoir on Thursday morning. “This reservoir should have water at least up to the 2 m mark for effective output. Even by 9 p.m. on Thursday there was only 1.4 m; not enough to put enough pressure on the distribution lines,” a KWA engineer told The Hindu.
By about 4 p.m. on Thursday, yet another power disruption took place at Aruvikkara; this time power was cut to switch electrical supply from the Nedumangad feeder of the KSEB to the regular Aruvikkara feeder. Though the actual switch over would take only about 30 minutes, this would translate to more than an hour of stoppage at the KWA plant.
The KWA officials pointed out that even though Aruvikkara has four treatment plants there was no electrical engineer to oversee the functioning of the power apparatus there. The work was done by a single electrician. The top brass of the KWA had turned a deaf ear to repeated entreaties from field engineers for posting an assistant engineer from the electrical wing at Aruvikkara.