Residents block pipeline work at Aramkallu

Consequent to the delay in repairing the 1200-mm concrete pipeline that burst on Sunday night at Aramkallu, near here, the supply of drinking water to areas serviced by the Kerala Water Authority's (KWA) Observatory Hill reservoir is likely to be restored by Tuesday evening.

The repair on the damaged line was repeatedly blocked on Monday by irate residents of Aramkallu who alleged apathy on part of the KWA in identifying and rectifying leaks on major pipelines.

While the KWA and the City Corporation pressed into service water tankers to meet the needs of hospitals and other vital installations, private water tankers did brisk business on Monday selling water to bulk consumers such as private hospitals and high-rise apartments.

Following a series of meetings of KWA and revenue officials, chaired by Transport Minister V.S. Sivakumar, it was decided to give Rs.25,000 each to the owners of three houses that were partially damaged following the pipe burst.

It was also decided that the tender for replacing the concrete line in the 10-km stretch between Aruvikkara and Peroorkada would be floated in one month. The concrete line would be replaced by either a cast-iron line or a ductile iron pipeline.

In order to try and prevent repeat bursts, officials of the KWA would survey the line for possible leaks or cracks and rectify such anomalies, if any, immediately.

Within a week, KWA engineers would connect the 1200-mm pipe originating from the Chithirakkunnu treatment plant at Aruvikkara to the ‘break pressure tank' installed there as part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) scheme; in effect transforming the line from a ‘pumping main' to a ‘gravity flow' line.

KWA Superintending Engineer, Thiruvananthapuram, K.P. Krishnakumar told The Hindu that this conversion is expected to stabilise the pressure of water in the concrete line. “Gravity flow would not reduce the quantity of water that reaches Observatory Hill,” he added.

Meantime the KWA is ‘back feeding' the Observatory Hill reservoir using a line originating from the JICA reservoir at Thirumala as a stop-gap arrangement.