Administrators and elected representatives of urban and rural local bodies in the city’s immediate southern suburbs are facing the heat as they strive to meet residents’ drinking water requirements.
In many places, as part of the measures to augment local sources, work has started on sinking deep borewells. The bigger municipalities, including Tambaram, have their hopes pinned on the sub-terraneal Palar river, which is also the source of drinking water for several other local bodies along its course till the point where it drains into the Bay of Bengal in Cuddalore village (in Kancheepuram district beyond Sadurangapattinam).
Officials of the commissionerate of municipal administration and water supply said the failure of last year’s monsoon had a severe impact on the water level of the Palar river between Chengalpattu and Wallajahbad, where the infiltration wells at the headworks of the drinking water schemes are located.
They are now carrying out improvement works to ensure local bodies get additional water, the officials said. Tambaram, for instance, is expected to get an additional 10 lakh litres per day, apart from the regular supply that varies between 50 lakh and 75 lakh litres per day.
In addition to this, there are proposals to sink deep borewells, apart from sprucing up the existing ones that have been neglected for long. For instance, in Pammal and Anakaputhur municipalities, repair works on a total of 20 neglected deep borewells would be taken up.
Elaborating, the officials said that a reverse osmosis plant would be installed around these borewells and the treated water would be transported and supplied to residents through roadside plastic tanks. In Chengalpattu region, comprising municipalities in Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Cuddalore districts, work had already commenced on locating new sources and also on replacement and repair of worn out and damaged motors and pumps.
Town and village panchayat staff too has started cracking the whip against misuse of drinking water.
It is a normal practice for residents to fix hoses to street taps and store water in huge containers or small sumps inside their homes. Residents sometimes use the water for washing vessels and cars and even for gardening.
Staff in a couple of town panchayats around Tambaram recently conducted surprise checks and seized hoses used by residents. The staff said they had warned residents of penal action if they continued to use the water for other purposes.