Supply from the Krishna has declined; team off to inspect canal

The decline in the inflow of Krishna water, the city’s lifeline, has raised the prospect of water scarcity in the city.

The four primary reservoirs — Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam — currently contain 4,631 million cubic feet of water (mcft), which is only 42 per cent of their capacity. This will be enough to supply the city for four more months at the current rate of 831 million litres a day. The evaporation loss in the water bodies is only minimal now as the day temperature is close to normal.

Recently, water supply from Veeranam tank was also suspended for want of resources. Thus, the Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh was a significant contributor to meeting the water needs of the city.

On Monday, the entry point of the Kandaleru Poondi canal in Uthukottai, Tiruvallur district, received less than 50 cubic feet of water per second (cusecs). Though around 400 cusecs of water is being released from the Kandaleru reservoir in Andhra Pradesh, only a negligible amount of Krishna water reaches the city.

On Monday. a team of officials from the Water Resources Department left to inspect the canal and check for illegal tapping enroute. Krishna water also caters to irrigation needs of areas in Andhra Pradesh before it is released to Chennai.

After reviewing the situation, Andhra Pradesh officials would be requested to step up the discharge of water. About 250- 300 cusecs is essential to maintain drinking water supply.

The situation has brought back memories of the situation a decade ago when the monsoon was insufficient. In 2003, Chennai was provided with drinking water on alternate days, and the next year, it was completely suspended for eight months. From the next year, the city received good monsoon until 2012, when the northeast monsoon failed.

Chennai has realised about 4,500 (mcft) of Krishna water since July. This is equal to nearly five months of water supply to the city. Officials said that water from Kandaleru reservoir had saved resources in the four reservoirs from fast depletion and helped maintain the storage level at 40-50 per cent of their capacity.

The release of Krishna water to Chennai had been limited to less than 300 cusecs as the canal suffered damage at Ubbalamadugu near Varadapalayam. Though repair work is expected to be taken up in a couple of days, it would take at least four months for situation to turn normal until the project is completed, said officials.

With the second 100-mld desalination plant that was recently inaugurated at Nemmeli along East Coast Road to soon begin distribution, the crisis might ease to some extent, officials added.

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