For city residents who have been reeling under an acute water shortage, there may just be some relief by the end of this week.
Supply from the Veeranam tank, located about 225 km south of Chennai in Cuddalore district, is set to resume this Friday after a hiatus of three months. Officials expect the tank, which is bone-dry at the moment, to begin receiving water on Tuesday from the Mettur dam in Salem district that has reached its full level.
Since 2004, the Veeranam tank, located at the tail-end of the Cauvery river system, has been a major water source for Chennai. It’s water is crucial now, as the city’s four reservoirs in Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam, have only 10 per cent of their total storage capacity.
“We expect the tank to touch its full capacity of 1,465 million cubic feet (mcft) by the end of this week. The tank gets its supply from Vadavar channel from the lower anicut on the Coleroon river (a distributary of the Cauvery river),” said a Water Resources Department (WRD) official.
A 230-km long pipeline from the tank will bring in 180 million litres of water to the city every day. Chennai Metrowater will be able to draw 75 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of water to augment the city’s supply, besides releasing water for irrigation, the official said.
At present, Chennai receives 550 mld of water from various sources, including from borewells in villages of neighbouring districts.
Metrowater plans to stop pumping water from borewells in the Neyveli region – up to 75 mld per day at present, once supply from Veeranam tank resumes, an official said.
Meanwhile, the Poondi reservoir is also receiving a steady inflow of Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh.
Krishna water has added nearly 240 mcft to the reservoir since last month, which is equal to 10 days of water supply to Chennai. Officials expect this inflow to increase to 230 cusecs over the next few days.
The city will also get more water from Andhra Pradesh after the damaged portion of Kandaleru Poondi canal near Ubbalamadugu is repaired in two months, a WRD official said.
However, Chennai Metrowater officials said the alternate-day supply of water is set to go on for a few more months. Residents may have to wait until October for the storage position in city reservoirs to improve for daily water supply to be re-started.