Two of the oldest pumping stations of the Kerala Water Authority at Aruvikkara have been taken up for renovation at a cost of Rs.42 crore.

The machinery of the 36 million litres per day (mld) pumping station set up in 1933 and the 72 mld pumping station set up in 1973 has sustained wear and tear, often causing electrical breakdown leading to disruption of drinking water supply to large parts of the city.

Kerala Water Authority Managing Director Ashok Kumar Singh told The Hindu that an agency shortlisted by the Central Power Research Institute had been awarded the work, which included the replacement of water filters. The renovation, taken up with financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, had begun without disrupting the day-to-day operations of the pumping stations. “The renovation is expected to be completed in 10 months. The overhaul will help prevent frequent shutdown of the stations owing to electrical problems and improve the quality of the water supplied,” he said.

Along with the repair of the pumping stations, a minor revamp at the Vellayambalam treatment plant would also be taken up, Mr. Singh said, adding that this would improve the operational efficiency of the plant.

A senior official said electrical installations in a majority of the pump houses were outdated, and the situation was worse in the 36 mld and the 72 mld stations, causing major disruptions.

While the 36 mld station pumps water to Vellayambalam and parts of Thampanoor, the 72 mld station serves the Kowdiar, Pattoor, Pettah, Chakka, Statue, Vellayambalam, and Medical College areas.

Power failure

Mr. Singh clarified that power failure at the 72 mld pumping station that caused water supply disruption in several parts of the city on Sunday was not caused by lightning but was the result of an underground cable burst. “Probably, the lightning theory was an initial assessment of the ground staff. But now, it has been established that it was not owing to lightning,” he said.

On the delay in rectifying the problem owing to lack of qualified staff at the pumping station, he said the KWA had started the process of deploying an electrical engineer at Aruvikkara.