After several years, a damaged conduit pipeline, the backbone of Chennai’s drinking water distribution network, is being reconstructed.

Three pipelines, ten km long, carry water from the Red Hills reservoir to be treated at Kilpauk Water Works before being distributed to one-third of the city’s population. The pipelines laid at various point of time by Chennai Metrowater are some of the earliest infrastructure used to supply drinking water to the city.

Metrowater officials said the earliest among the three huge conduit lines, constructed with brick masonry by the British in 1914, is still in use. The most recently-built of the pipelines, constructed in 1986, collapsed nearly a decade ago and is currently being repaired. The other two lines continue to be used to transmit up to 270 million litres a day.

In a bid to strengthen the conduit, Metrowater has initiated a Rs. 39.20-crore project to replace the damaged brick masonry structure with a concrete structure. Of the total distance of 10 km, the water agency is carrying out work on a five-km stretch from the intake tower of Red Hills reservoir near Surapet to Rajamangalam as it is free of encroachments.

It is being constructed as a twin channel to regulate water distribution. As the huge pipelines run underground with only its brick arches or inspection chambers visible at some points, they are more prone to encroachments. The water agency plans to intensify patrolling to prevent further encroachments. The work is set to be completed by March next year, said sources in Metrowater.

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