The government will devise projects to increase the availability of water per capita from the current 25 litres a day to 70 litres in two years, said P.J. Joseph, Minister for Water Resources, here on Friday. He said that the districts that do not have the Japan-aided drinking water project will be also be brought under the projects worth Rs.5,725 crore.
Laying the foundation of the Data Centre and Quality Determination Centre for the Ground Water Department at Kakkand in Kochi, Mr. Joseph said that the lowered rupee value had left Rs.800 crore unused and this would be used to improve drinking water projects in Ernakulam. Another Rs.1,000 crore would be needed to resolve the drinking water crisis in the district, he said.
Steps are on at various levels to increase the availability of water from 235 million litres a day (mld) to 390 mld. He said that projects will be taken up to purify seawater for drinking purposes in coastal areas. Israel-model mobile desalination plants would be the practical solution for this, he said.
Only 29 per cent of people in the State get tap water. Ground water should be utilised in these areas instead. The quality determination centre here will help test the water quality in an area.
Benny Behanan, MLA, presided over the function. Babu N. Joseph, director, Department of Ground Water, P. Lethika, chief engineer, Irrigation department, B. Jayaram, Hydrology Project chief engineer, and Varghese Paulose, councillor, Thrikkakara municipal council, participated in the function.
Canals in Kochi city that have become areas for dumping waste will be made navigable with a Rs.500 crore project, said Mr. Joseph. Edappally, Thevara-Perandoor Canal, Market Canal and Karanakodam Thodu need to be cleaned immediately.
A meeting chaired by the Chief Minister has cleared Rs.70 crore for beginning the work with cleaning the Edappally canal. The project will be completed before the metro rail project is completed, said Mr. Joseph.
Bridges need to be raised and sides of the canals will be secured to make the canals navigable as part of the work under the project.
Block in the canal need to be removed to reduce waterlogging in the Corporation area. A high powered motor of about 100 HP will be used to pump out the water at the mouth of the canal into the backwaters where mud sludge gets deposited.