To come up at Nemmeli and Perur with combined capacity to treat 550 mld of seawater

To find a reliable water source to cater to the growing needs of the city, Chennai Metrowater has set the ball rolling for two more desalination plants in Nemmeli and Perur on East Coast Road, about 40 km south of Chennai.

The water agency is awaiting approval from the State government for the projects.

Chennai will soon get its third desalination plant at Nemmeli with a capacity to treat 150 million litres per day (mld). It will come up on a nearly 11-acre vacant space on the same premises that houses a 100-mld capacity plant.

Spread over 90 acres, the fourth desalination plant will be set up at Perur, located a few kilometres away from Nemmeli. Once commissioned, the Perur facility will be the largest among the four plants with a capacity to treat 400 mld of seawater.

Sources in Metrowater said more such facilities were needed to cater to the growing demand of the city. With dwindling storage in reservoirs for want of rains, the water agency had to reduce water supply from 810 mld to 600 mld for the past one year.

The two desalination plants in Minjur and Nemmeli came in handy to offset the deficit in reservoir storage, the sources added.

At present, Chennai with a population of 6.7 million (as per 2011 census) has an optimum requirement of about 1,200 mld. This is expected to go up to 1,500 mld by 2026, and the gap between demand and supply up to 700 mld.

When these plants are commissioned, the water agency will have an additional 550 mld to supply to the Chennai metropolitan area.

Once issues, including funding pattern are decided, tenders are expected to be floated in four or five months. The entire project may be completed in three years, said the sources.