To cater to the increasing drinking-water needs of an expanded Chennai, the government is to set up a new storage structure in Thirukandalam, Tiruvallur district. The project, worth Rs. 40 crore, is expected to be completed in nine months.

In his budget speech on Monday, Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam announced that this storage facility would be built in Thirukandalam, which is located downstream from Tamaraipakkam. Thirukandalam is nearly 27 km away from Chennai.

According to sources in the Water Resources Department (WRD), a riverine reservoir – which stores water that otherwise drains into the sea – would be built on the Kosasthalaiyar river. Every year, a minimum of one thousand million cubic feet of water, which translates to a month's supply of drinking water , is wasted when surplus water is released into the river from the Poondi reservoir, one of Chennai's major water supply bodies.

“We opted for such a structure as it does not require land acquisition. The flood banks on both sides will be raised to a height of three or four metre to store water during the monsoons or whenever water is discharged from the Poondi reservoir,” an official said. The project, which was mooted during the formulation of the Krishna water supply scheme nearly three decades ago, has remained on paper due to opposition on the question of land acquisition.

The WRD expects to store a minimum of 250 million cubic feet (mcft) in the structure. It can be filled twice or thrice and transmitted to the nearest reservoir in Red Hills. The new structure will help meet two weeks of the city's water supply. However, the means of conveying water from the storage structure to the reservoir, either by pumping or through a canal, has to be studied, said sources.

Preliminary work for a project to create a reservoir in Thervaikandigai and improving the capacity of four water bodies in Nemam, Cholavaram, Ayanambakkam and Porur, which were in last year's budget announcement, has begun.

The menace of pollution in city waterways may be reduced as the State government has announced a fund of Rs. 300 crore to plug 337 sewage outlets and to prevent the entry of raw sewage. Chennai Metrowater proposed the construction of three sewage treatment plants in Porur, Villivakkam and Sholinganallur.

In a bid to ease the pressure on fresh water sources and promote recycling of sewage, the government also plans to set up more tertiary treated sewage reverse osmosis plants in the city. The treated water from such plants would be supplied to industries that require the best quality of water. Chennai Metrowater has initiated the process of preparing a feasibility report to set up a plant with a capacity of 45 million litres a day, in Koyambedu. This will cater to SIPCOT industrial parks in Oragadam and Sriperumbudur.

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At WorkSeptember 24, 2010