A major obstacle in the proposal to secure an alternate source of water for the Gundala Drinking Water Treatment Plant has been cleared with the Irrigation Department granting permission for the laying of water mains across Eluru and Ryve's canals.

The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) is racing against time to finish the work before June 25, the day water is released into the canals at the advent of the kharif season. A decision on permitting the laying of the pipes was delayed as the Irrigation officials had apprehensions about the pipes having a diameter of one metre obstructing the free flow of water in the canal. The project that has been pending since 2008 can now be completed with the clearance given by the Irrigation department. VMC has to lay a pipeline for a stretch of 7.1 km along the canals from Krishna Eastern Main Canal head sluice to Gunadala to complete the project.

The Corporation officials had made the proposals for the laying of the mains as there was no source of water for the Gunadala Water Treatment Plant during the period the canals are closed. The canals are kept closed for not less than 45 days during summer for pre-monsoon inspections and maintenance. To surmount this problem, the 1,000-mm diameter pipe will be laid from the barrage to Padavalarevu.

On completion of the project the Corporation will be able to draw water from Ryve's canal in Gunadala itself. The drinking water treatment plant, of a capacity of 11 Million Gallons per Day (MGD), will draw water from the canal and supply it to more than three lakh people in the city. The Corporation could not take up the project till November 2008, though the then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy laid the foundation stone during the first quarter of 2008, as both the VMC and the Irrigation Department were at loggerheads with each other.

Irrigation officials were apprehensive of the likely adverse impact of the plant on the availability of water for irrigation purposes to the tail-end areas of the canal. VMC officials, however, argued that they would draw from the canal only about 20 cusecs of water a day, as against the canal's carriage capacity of 2,000 cusecs a day.

Thus, it would not hinder the supply of water to the tail-end areas, as the Corporation would draw only one per cent of the total flow, they contended. The Irrigation officials had finally agreed to the treatment plant after they were assured that water would be drawn from the canal at Gunadala when canals were opened and from the upstream of Prakasam barrage when canals were closed.

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