Damaged drinking water pipeline from Chembarambakkam lake to Porur inundates Iyyapanthangal area for hours

The EVP Park Avenue neighbourhood in Iyyapanthangal resembled a marooned island for a few hours on Saturday. Not because of heavy rains or an overflowing dam, however.

A valve in the pipeline transporting drinking water from Chembarambakkam lake to Porur burst around 6 a.m. on Saturday and inundated the entire neighbourhood.

The 1,200-mm diameter pipeline carries water from the Chembarambakkam treatment plant to the Porur distribution station, passing through areas such as Nazarethpet, Poonamallee and Iyyapanthangal, covering a distance of nearly 15 km.

On Saturday morning, residents of the developing locality were in for a shock when water entered their houses on Avenues 1 to 5.

They said they had not seen such a huge volume of water in their locality even during the monsoon.

According to the residents, at least 150 homes were affected by the flooding.

“A huge volume of precious drinking water was completely wasted. The leaked water got mixed with sewage and entered some of our homes,” said A. Anjali, a resident.

Many residents had to leave their vehicles behind and wade through knee-deep water to reach the main road to get to work and school.

Some locked up their houses and left for their relatives’ and friends’ places. The sewage-contaminated water and its stagnation might result in a health hazard, said S. Raja, another resident.

Many said that despite a prompt alert about the water leakage, officials from the various government departments arrived at the scene much later.

Metrowater suspended operations at the Chembarambakkam plant that has a capacity to treat 530 million litres of water daily (mld). Though the water leak was temporarily arrested, much water had already gone waste.

According to a Metrowater official, the water drawn from the Chembarambakkam lake is treated and fed into two pipelines.

One goes to Porur distribution station from where areas like K.K. Nagar, Ekkaduthangal and Choolaimedu are supplied with drinking water, and the other goes to the Kilpauk pumping station.

As the lake had less storage, only 70-80 mld was being drawn instead of the usual volume of 260 mld. Water from Veeranam tank was used to offset the deficit.

Saturday’s incident, however, did not affect water supply except in pockets of Mogappair and Anna Nagar western extension.

About 180 mld of Veeranam water transmitted to Porur is sent to other parts of the city, including Alandur. Alternate arrangements to draw additional volume of water from Red Hills lake were made.

The damaged pipeline valve was repaired by Saturday evening, a Metrowater official said.

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