They will be formed in Tiruvallur district

The State government on Thursday announced that three reservoirs will be created at a cost of Rs.1,851 crore in the neighbouring Tiruvallur district as part of its measures to augment Chennai water supply.

In his budget speech, Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam said the reservoirs to be formed at Thervaikandigai, Thirukandalam and Ramancheri would provide an additional storage of 4.2 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft).

According to sources in Chennai Metrowater, this would bridge the shortfall of 410 million litres a day in water supply to Chennai and suburbs. At present, it is supplying 780 mld.

The storage capacity in the four reservoirs - Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarampakkam – from where the city gets its water supply is 11 tmcft.

The water body at Thervaikandigai near Uthukottai would be improved to store one tmcft. A proposal would be developed to acquire lands for creating reservoirs of one tmcft capacity each across Kosasthalaiyar river at Ramancheri near Karanodai and Thirukandalam located downstream of Tamaraipakkam.

With this announcement, the State government is attempting to revive the Ramancheri and Thirukandalam projects, which were mooted during the formation of Krishna water supply scheme in 1983. According to sources in the Water Resources Department, the new reservoirs would be interlinked with the existing four through various canals.

Six water bodies at Nemam near Thirumazhisai, Porur, Ayanambakkam, Ambattur, Korattur and Madhavaram would be restored to augment the capacity to 0.9 tmcft.

If the long-pending proposal is implemented, it would also prevent flooding in the suburbs, the sources said.

The capacity of reservoir at Cholavaram, which is being used for drinking water supply, would be increased from the existing 881 million cubic feet to 1,181 tmcft by deepening.

In a bid to offset the disproportionate water distribution in different locations, Metrowater would strengthen the water distribution network for 161 km and replace old pipelines for 154 km to regulate water pressure. These works are expected to be completed by this year.

Sources at Metrowater said work to install sluice valves to separate the distribution zones to regulate the water flow would be completed soon.

Forty valves would be installed in the main pipeline in about two months.

The Finance Minister also announced in the budget that investigation would be undertaken to establish a 400 mld desalination plant.

Restoration of Pallikaranai marsh

Another announcement in the budget said that a comprehensive plan will be drafted to restore and preserve the Pallikaranai marsh . The objective is to help restore the delicate ecosystem in the area, which also acts as a natural aquifer and groundwater recharge.

While a portion of the marsh is being used as a garbage dumping yard by the Chennai Corporation, another portion has been declared as a Reserved Forest.

The civic body proposes to implement an integrated solid waste management facility at the yard.Jayshree Vencatesan of Care Earth, an NGO working on biodiversity issues said: “This announcement is reason for celebration for many stakeholders who have been raising the need to protect the marsh on a sustained basis for over a decade.”

Clearing plastic waste

Mr. Panneerselvam also announced that a mass drive will be conducted for cleaning accumulated plastic waste throughout the State and Rs.5 crore was being allocated for this.

A sum of Rs.50 crore is being allocated towards the Environment Protection Fund, which will be used to support local bodies relaying roads using the plastic waste collected under this mass drive on a pilot basis.

Plastic manufacturers have welcomed the State government's decision to ban plastic bags less than 60 microns and allocation of Rs.50 crore for environmental protection. “We welcome the decision to use plastic waste for road re-laying,” said Tamil Nadu, Pondy Plastics Manufacturers and Merchants Association president G. Sankaran.

B. Swaminathan, executive member, Tamil Nadu Plastic Manufacturers' Association said segregation of waste at source would help reduce the burden on municipal landfills.