A solution to the long-standing water woes of the Nedumangad municipality and at least four surrounding panchayats appears to be in sight with the Rs.10-crore phase I of a Rs.25-crore water supply augmentation scheme to be launched on Wednesday.

The scheme was commissioned in 1999 but failed to get moving. It was revived recently by Palode Ravi, MLA, with the government granting administrative sanction for the first phase. Under it, the existing 500-mm primo pipelines, laid way back in the early 1970s, will be replaced by 500-mm ductile iron pipes for a distance of about six kilometres, from Perumala to Seemavilamukku.

This network, along with the rest of the project, will be served by a 13.75-million litres a day water treatment plant at Perumala.

Old pipes

Kerala Water Authority (KWA) officials said the existing pipes were well past their lifespan, and more than 50 per cent of the water supply through them was being lost through leakages that were literally impossible to be rectified. The situation had been such for over a decade, the result being that a large part of the municipality suffered from an acute water shortage, despite sufficient water being available for supply.

The second phase of the project will see the pipelines from Karipur via Uzhapakonam till ISRO being replaced, and in the third and last phase, the corroded network in the Nedumangad Town area will be done away with. Parts of the panchayats of Vellanad, Aryanad, Aruvikkara, and Uzhamalakal too stand to gain from the project.

Mr. Ravi said the augmentation project was expected to improve the water supply in the municipality by at least 85 per cent.

The first phase itself would benefit more than 10,000 people, he said.

Minister for Water Resources P.J. Joseph will inaugurate the project at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Chenthipur in Nedumangad, one of the areas where the water shortage is at its worst.