Residents need not wait much longer to figure out the source of their contaminated Metrowater supply.

In a month, Chennai Metrowater will fix monitoring devices in the pipeline to frequently check the quality supplied to city.

The water agency will install the equipment in 50 locations across Chennai and introduce automated inline water quality monitoring system. At present, Metrowater staff members manually collect over 3,500 water samples daily from various places, including distribution points and pipelines at consumers’ end. They check the residual chlorine level and the results are communicated to the area offices concerned.

Once the GSM/GPRS - enabled devices are fitted in the pipeline, they would collect water samples automatically, test quality for three parameters — residual chlorine content, Ph value and turbidity — and transmit data to the centralised monitoring room in Metrowater's head office in Chintadripet, said officials.

The water agency has identified over 200 locations so far and will shortlist 50 spots, near homes or water distribution stations to fix the equipment, comprising analysers and GSM modem.

The sensors in the equipment will communicate the data about the samples tested whenever water is supplied through the pipeline.

The drinking water pipelines run for over 5,200 km across the city and it often takes time to identify how and where the contamination occurs.

Officials said that as the data would be transmitted along with time and location, it would be easy to identify the source of problem and rectify it immediately.

The system would send an alert about the water quality through mobile text messages to officials concerned and technicians.

After the system is in place, staff members need not wait for residents’ complaints about any contamination or results from the laboratory to initiate action on water-related problems.

Uninterrupted power supply facility would also be ensured for continuous flow of data from the system, an official added.

Metrowater will, continue to collect and test water samples manually.