Stone laid for packaged drinking water plant

The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) plans to set up packaged drinking water plants at all district headquarters in the State. Subject to technical feasibility, these plants would be set up over the next few years, said Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran here on Monday.

He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for a packaged drinking water plant to come up near the 72-mld treatment plant of the KWA. When this is done, the KWA will be the leading player in the packaged drinking water market in Kerala.

The government will begin refurbishing the former ‘primo' pipe factory at Chavara this financial year. Initially, the factory will produce PVC pipes required by the KWA. Later, the plant will manufacture high density polyethylene(HDPE) pipes and water meters too, Mr. Premachandran said.

The KWA is foraying into the packaged water business at a time when it faces a widening gap between its revenue income and expenditure. As such, the non-tariff income from packaged water will serve to bridge the Authority's revenue gap, if only partially. This income will also help the authority pay its power bills and avoid disconnections at its facilities across the State. Moreover, the Authority can avoid hiking its water tariff.

The packaged water plant will be set up on a Design-Build-Operate-Transfer mode. The plant will be handed over to the KWA after the first 31 months of operations. The construction of the plant is being launched at a time when low-quality packaged water is being marketed by various agencies in the State. Last year, it was found that many brands of packaged water being sold at Sabarimala were substandard, he said.

The bottling plant here is designed to produce 7,500 litres of water in an hour. Water filtered and treated at the 72-mld plant here would be further purified and disinfected before being bottled. Mangode Radhakrishnan, MLA; Managing Director of KWA Susan Jacob; and Deputy Leader of the Opposition G. Karthikeyan were among those who were present on the occasion.