Tamil Nadu to ask for increased supply as water crisis looms large in city

After months of agony over dwindling Krishna water supply to the city, there now appears to be a ray of hope.

Senior officials, led by chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh governments, will meet on Saturday to discuss ways to ensure continued supply of Krishna water to the city.

The high-level meeting, being held after a gap of six years, is part of deliberations of the liaison committee and is being held at a time when the city is facing a threat of water crisis.

The northeast monsoon of 2012 failed Chennai with the city receiving just 57 cm of rainfall, a shortfall of 28 per cent.

As of now, the combined storage at the Red Hills, Cholavaram, Chembarambakkam and Poondi reservoirs stands at 5,271 million cubic feet (mcft) — only 48 per cent of their capacity of 11,057 mcft.

Under such circumstances, the need for Krishna water has become greater. At the present rate of Krishna water supply of 830 million litres a day (MLD), the storage can meet the city’s needs for just four or five months.

At the meeting on Saturday, led by the chief secretaries, Tamil Nadu will underscore the importance of increasing the quantum of supply.

At the inter-State Kandaleru-Poondi canal in Uthukottai, where Krishna water enters Tamil Nadu, the rate of flow is 129 cubic feet per second (cusecs). But, Tamil Nadu requires at least 300 cusecs to sustain the present level of water supply, an official said.

A few weeks ago, the portion of the 152-km-long canal at Ubbalamadugu near Varadapalayam in Andhra Pradesh was damaged. This has led to reduced flow as water is being diverted through pipelines for the time being.

The Andhra Pradesh government has sanctioned about Rs. 6.7 crore towards repair of the canal. At the meeting, Tamil Nadu will press its neighbour to ensure repairs are carried out at the earliest so there will be substantial improvement in water flow after six months.

As of now, the realisation of Krishna water is around 3.8 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) as against the State’s net share of 12 tmcft. Krishna water is stored in the city’s reservoirs before being supplied to Chennai.