The resumption of water supply from Veeranam tank in Cuddalore district during the past four days has temporarily staved off fears of a water crisis in the city this summer.
Though the four reservoirs in Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam are lifelines for the drinking water needs of Chennaiites, there are other sources that supplement daily water supply to the city. The Veeranam tank is a significant source among them. The 230-km-long pipeline from Veeranam tank usually brings in 180 million litres of water every day to the city (Chennai’s total water consumption is 831 mld).
The supply to the city, which was suspended last month as the water body turned dry, has been partially resumed as it has received inflow from channels upstream owing to recent rains in parts of the State.
At present, nearly 37 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of water is being drawn by Chennai Metrowater for the city’s needs from the tank that has storage of 300 million cubic feet (mcft). According to officials in Water Resources Department, only half the volume is being drawn and about 100 mld has been provided to the city since Tuesday. This may be stepped up gradually, they said.
The water body is expected to receive inflow for ten more days. With the given storage, Chennai could receive supply for two more months.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh authorities have assured Tamil Nadu officials that Krishna water discharge from Kandaleru reservoir would be increased in order thatChennai can tide over an imminent water crisis this summer.
There was a marginal increase in the inflow at the entry point of Kandaleru-Poondi canal in Uthukottai, Tiruvallur district. Poondi reservoir, the storage point of Krishna water, received an inflow of 80 cusecs on Saturday. This is expected to go up as irrigation needs are decreasing in the neighbouring state and hence drawal of water enroute may dip.
The much-awaited supply from the new source, the city’s second desalination plant at Nemmeli on East Coast Road, is expected to begin by next weekend. Sources in the Metrowater said the flushing of pipelines would be completed in a few days. The retention of chlorine level in the treated water would be tested after which, distribution of drinking water to southern parts of the city would begin in full swing.
At present, the city reservoirs have 40 per cent storage of their total capacity of 11,057 mcft. Metrowater hopes to maintain the existing water supply till June with the available resources.