Erratic piped water supply has forced residents to rely on expensive tankers

For the past week, residents of several areas in south Chennai have not been receiving piped water supply.

People living in Gandhi Nagar, Indira Nagar, Adyar and Besant Nagar said the water supply to their sumps had reduced considerably, and they now had to depend on private tankers for their daily needs.

“It takes three days for private tankers to supply water. They demand up to Rs. 2,000 for a lorry-load of water. I don’t have a choice because the open well in my house has dried up,” said Vatsala, a resident of Adyar.

Areas such as Mylapore and Taramani have also not been receiving water through pipelines for the past four days. “We manage with the water from our borewell as the supply has become erratic. We buy additional packaged drinking water cans too,” said a resident of Thiruvanmiyur.

Water sourced from the southern aquifer, the Veeranam tank, and from the desalination plant in Nemmeli along East Coast Road, is generally supplied to south Chennai. Veeranam tank however, is now bone dry and with water levels at the city’s four reservoirs dipping, Chennai Metrowater is under a massive strain.

Some areas also experienced reduced water pressure in their pipelines.

People in southern Chennai as well as those in the recently-added areas — especially Velachery, Thiruvanmiyur, Pallipattu and areas adjoining the IT Corridor such as Karapakkam — are provided with desalinated water from the plant that has a capacity to treat 100 million litres of sea water per day.

Since its commissioning early this year, the plant treats and distributes about 70- 80 mld of water a day.

Sources at Metrowater and VA Tech Wabag, the firm entrusted with the project to construct the Nemmeli desalination plant, said water production at the plant dipped substantially last week due to a power disruption for over four hours.

However, the production of drinking water has gone up gradually. Steps are being taken to operate the plant to its full capacity. The distribution is now being reorganised in such a way so as to provide water to localities with adequate water pressure on alternate days to deal with the water shortage, a source said.

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