Official links decision to neighbouring State's domestic demand

Andhra Pradesh has stopped discharging the Krishna waters to Chennai from the Kandaleru reservoir since Saturday evening.

An official of the Water Resources Department (WRD) said the Andhra Pradesh government took the decision in view of its domestic demand. “We have adequate resources to tide over the summer demand. We are not planning to request for water from Andhra Pradesh as of now as the next spell of water release will be in July.”

To bridge the shortfall, Chennai Metrowater plans to start drawing from borewells in the Neyveli aquifer in a week. It had stopped exploiting the aquifer eight months ago, but will now extract 50 million litres a day (mld) from 45 wells there.

On Monday, the combined storage of the four reservoirs used for city supply stood at 7.1 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft), which was 1.6 tmcft less when compared to the storage level during the corresponding period last year.

A Metrowater official said Chennai's water demand would be met till September-end with the available resources. On an average, 1.2 tmcft was estimated to be drawn every month from the reservoirs.

“We will be able to augment water supply withdrawal from the Veeranam tank for a month. At present, the tank has storage of about 670 mcft against its capacity of 1.4 tmcft,” the official said.

Officials are pinning their hopes on south-west monsoon rains in May-end or June to step up storage in the four reservoirs.

Metrowater will start using resources from private agricultural wells by May-end after reviewing the situation. The daily supply of water at the rate of 575 mld will be sustained.

WRD officials said Uthukottai, the inter-State limit of the Kandaleru Poondi canal, received 2.87 tmcft from the neighbouring State since February.

The Krishna water supply project reached a milestone last fiscal with Chennai realising 7.01 tmcft, the highest since its inception a decade ago. The previous highest realisation was 6.8 tmcft in 2008-09.

In 2009-10, water was discharged in two spells — between September and December 2009 and February and April 2010.