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New pipeline to be ready in 18 months

Special Correspondent
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Work will begin in Kannur on October 1

The much-awaited replacement of pipeline, for improving water supply for the Kannur municipal area adjoining panchayats, is set to be a reality in 18 months. Water Resource Minister P.J. Joseph will inaugurate the work, estimated at Rs.69 crore, at a function here on October 1.

The scheme for replacing the pipeline, included under the Special Assistance Against Recession in Kerala (SAARK), has been approved by the United Democratic Front (UDF) government, bringing to an end the uncertainty following objection by the Finance Department in the last months of the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to the estimate, citing tender excess.

Old and new

According to Kerala Water Authority (KWA) officials here, the scheme envisages replacement of the existing asbestos cement (AC) pipeline with the new mild steel (MS) and ductile iron (DI) pipes to be laid from the KWA's treatment plant at Chavasseriparamba to the over-head service reservoir (OHSR) here.

The scheme also includes installation of new pump sets and construction of a control room and establishment of air vessel type surge control equipment to protect the pumping system. The new pipeline will be laid parallel to the existing line which will be dismantled in a phased manner as the new line replaces it so that there will be no major disruption of water supply during the execution of the works.

The adjoining panchayats that will benefit from the pipeline replacement scheme are Chirakkal, Puzhathi, Azhikkal, Elayavur, and Pallikkunnu.

A major problem caused by the existing pipeline laid four decades ago was wastage of water during transmission from the treatment plant to the OHRC. The new pipeline effectively stops loss of water due to leakages, KWA officials say. The loss of water during transmission is estimated to be nearly 40 per cent of water supplied through the existing pipeline. The officials also said that the pipeline replacement would be a permanent solution to the water supply problems faced by the people in the municipality and the adjoining panchayats.

The work is being executed by a Goa-based company. Construction of valve protection walls, steel bridges, culverts and road/culvert crossings along the alignment of pipeline is also included in the scheme.

Distribution worries

While the laying of new pipeline from the treatment plant to the OHSR will improve the transmission of water, doubts have been raised about the existing distribution pipeline's capacity to endure the improved water supply after the pipeline is replaced.

The distribution pipeline network that is as old as the transmission pipeline now being replaced should also be upgraded to make it fully compatible with the water supply through the improved transmission pipeline, according to some engineers.

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