The Tiruvallur collectorate is in the process of issuing licences to water tanker operators and borewell owners in a bid to regulate water supply.

The quality of water transported to your doorstep through tankers may soon improve as efforts are on to streamline tapping of groundwater.

In a bid to regulate private water tankers, Tiruvallur collectorate is in the process of introducing licensing system for lorries and borewell owners who supply water.

Though Chennai is largely covered by the water pipeline network, nearly 1,200 private tankers criss-cross the city daily to bridge the gap in demand. High-volume consumers, especially educational institutions and commercial establishments avail of their services.

But, until now, proper regulation was not in place to monitor groundwater extraction, pricing or the quality. According to sources in Tiruvallur collectorate, the measures are intended to curb indiscriminate groundwater withdrawal and ensure supply of quality water to consumers.

This follows the recent checks on the tankers transporting poor quality water as well as the lorry operators’ strike seeking permits to draw water from designated places last month.

S. Murugan, treasurer of Chennai Private Water Tankers Owners Association, said several lorry owners are applying for trade license in batches. “Some borewell owners have also applied for the licence and this would help us to carry out our trade without hassles,” he said.

There are nearly 400 lorry operators in Ambattur, Poonamallee and Madhavaram alone. Consumers are charged between Rs. 900 and 1,200 for a lorry load of 12,000 litres depending on the distance. Officials of the Tiruvallur collectorate said that nearly 25 tanker operators and 10 borewells owners have submitted applications for licence so far. They would be issued licences under the Chennai Metropolitan Area Groundwater Regulation Act, 1987.

Tanker operators would have to declare the source point of the water being transported and also have the quality tested. Groundwater drawal in some areas such as Sholinganallur, Palavakkam, Kottivakkam and Mathur has been banned to prevent receding of the water table. After survey of the location of the borewells, Chennai Metrowater would have to certify the quality of water.

Private water tankers may be allowed to transport only potable water to domestic consumers and water not fit for drinking would have to be supplied to industrial consumers, officials said. It would take about a month to issue licences.

Meanwhile, residents have demanded that the government implement a system to ensure a uniform pricing policy as some tanker operators charge exorbitant rate.

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