Supply from water body to city suspended for weekend; officials pin hopes on Krishna inflow

The fast-drying Veeranam tank in Cuddalore district, which supplements Chennai’s water supply, has thrown yet another challenge to the city water managers.

With the storage at the tank declining to 34.50 million cubic feet (mcft), which is hardly 3 per cent of its capacity of 1,485 mcft, the Water Resources Department (WRD) was forced to suspend drawal of water for city supply during the weekend.

This immediately impacted the city’s water distribution system with Chennai Metrowater slightly decreasing its supply. The water agency reduced it from the usual 831 million litres a day to about 810 mld on Monday.

While city residents were not affected much, water provided to industries and bulk consumers, including educational institutions and commercial consumers, was minimally cut.

Hard pressed for resources to maintain the daily water supply, the WRD and Metrowater have started extracting more water from Chembarambakkam reservoir to offset the gap owing to loss of Veeranam water. “We are drawing additional 50 cubic feet per second (cusecs) to balance the loss from Veeranam. The tank in Cuddalore district provides 70-75 cusecs for the city,” said an official.

Officials of the WRD said the four reservoirs in Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam have a combined storage of only 43 per cent of their capacity of 11,057 mcft.

The available resources in reservoirs, supply from Minjur desalination plant and well fields would be sufficient to provide drinking water to Chennai till June. Metrowater is pinning its hopes on the second desalination plant, which has a capacity to treat 100 mld of seawater, which will be commissioned at Nemmeli on East Coast Road.

Meanwhile, an increase in the inflow of Krishna water to the city from Kandaleru reservoir in Andhra Pradesh has boosted the confidence of officials here. On Monday, nearly 141 cusecs of Krishna water reached the inter-state border of Kandaleru Poondi canal in Uthukottai, Tiruvallur district.

Until last week, the Tamil Nadu border received less than 100 cusecs of Krishna water. WRD officials said that though it is only a marginal increase, every additional resource is crucial to store and supply the city. Since last July, Chennai has received 4,235 mcft of Krishna water, equal to four months’ supply.

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