KWA begins repair; hopes to restore supply today afternoon

The 1,200-mm pre-stressed concrete water transmission line from Aruvikkara to Observatory Hill in the city, which had burst at four places on February 25, burst again on Sunday, this time near the Kummi pump-house.

Pumping from the Aruvikkara reservoir was stopped immediately, leading to disruption in water supply to a major part of the city. Supply is likely to be restored by noon on Monday.

The burst, which was barely 200 metres from the spot where the same pipe had burst on February 16 and a couple of kilometres from where it had burst at four points simultaneously on February 25, was noticed around 7 a.m. this morning with officials suspecting the leak could have begun three to four hours before that. The burst caused a portion of the adjacent bank of the Karamana river to collapse, with the sudden surge of water sweeping away with it a few coconut and rubber trees into the river.

Kerala Water Authority (KWA) officials, including Managing Director Ashok Kumar Singh and Chief Engineer (South) P. Sreekumaran Nair, were at the spot from morning till reports last came in, supervising the repair.

Mr. Nair said the mild steel pipe portion that would replace the broken portion had been lowered into the trench by 7 p.m.

Welding both sides to join the pipeline was expected to take around five hours, while another two hours would have to be allowed for the portion to cool off. Pumping of water from Aruvikkara, first to test the pipe for further leakages, could be done only after this and if this went well, supply would be restored gradually.

Areas hit

With the pipe-burst, supply was disrupted in areas catered to from the Observatory Hill tank, including a few elevated pockets of Peroorkada apart from Vellayambalam, Vazhuthacaud, Statue, PMG junction, Pattom, Medical College, Pattoor, Pettah, Kannammoola, Chakka, and the airport regions, to mention a few.

The KWA, Mr. Singh said, had made arrangements to tackle the resultant shortage with water tankers being despatched to the affected areas. Filling points for these tankers were set up at PTP Nagar and Aruvikkara while water was pumped from the low-level tank at Vellayambalam into the Observatory tank to mitigate the situation to some extent. Officials said that while about 14 tanker loads of water were supplied to the Medical College alone from morning till around 7 p.m. on Sunday, around 108 loads were supplied to various parts of the city.

However, complaints were still reported from many parts of the city that the tankers had not reached them.

A high-level committee set up to probe the February 25 burst, termed abnormal by the KWA and which had sent the entire city, the government and the KWA into a tizzy, was still in the beginning stages of its investigation when this burst occurred.