Officials expect normal pumping to resume over the next few days

The drinking water shortage faced by the city over the past four months is expected to ease considerably as the Cauvery water released from Mettur reservoir reached here to provide a much-needed wetting of the water sources on the riverbed on Thursday.

The newly built check dam across the river, though yet to be completed, has helped in a big way to head up the water for a depth of about four feet around the city’s main drinking water sources at Kambarsampettai. The source of the Ramanathapuram Combined Drinking Water Scheme upstream also stood to benefit immensely by the recharge of groundwater.

With the Cauvery remaining dry for six months consequent to last year’s monsoon failure, the yield from almost all water pumping stations on the river had gone down drastically.

The combined yield from the four main pumping stations of the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation from the Cauvery slumped to a low of 12 million litres a day (MLD) from 80 to 85 MLD. The new drinking water supply augmentation scheme (still under execution) with its source at the Coleroon river, helped meet the shortfall to a large extent as the civic body was able to pump about 40 to 45 MLD even before the scheme was fully commissioned. This averted a major crisis as the supply level to the city was maintained at around 60 MLD over the past two months.

The corporation had to resort to alternate day supply of water to residents served by the Woraiyur, Marakkadai, and Virugupettai overhead water tanks in nearly a dozen wards in the city since May-end. The duration and the quantum of supply was reduced in many other places. Several other parts of the city, including Woraiyur, airport, and Crawford, were facing severe scarcity of drinking water supply.

The release of about 3,000 cusecs of water from Mettur over the past 10 days following good inflows from Karnataka had prevented the situation turning worse though it took quite a few days for the water to reach here as the riverbed had turned completely dry.

According to Public Works Department officials, more than 2,000 cusecs of water was being realised at Upper Anicut. The check dam at Kambarasampettai will help retain substantial quantity of water to provide continuous wetting to the sources on the river bed.

The check dam, sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 32 crore, is coming up just a few metres away from the city’s main drinking water pumping stations.

Already, over 87 per cent of the work on the structure on the riverbed has been completed, the officials said. Only the sand vents on either side are yet to be built.

Corporation officials were relieved on Thursday after the water reached here. Sources in the civic body said that they were expecting normal pumping to resume at the drinking water stations on the Cauvery over the next few days. Daily supply is likely to be restored in places where alternative day supply was introduced.

Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani remained cautiously optimistic saying that it would take a few more days for the drinking water sources to be fully recharged and the civic body would take appropriate decisions as the situation improves.

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