Special Correspondent

GIS maps to identify and repair leaks

Pilot project in city; Kochi, Kozhikode to follow suit

Areas around pipes to be freed from encroachments

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran announced here on Friday that the Kerala Water Authority would use satellite technology to map its pipeline infrastructure in major cities. Speaking after inaugurating the distribution of field test kits to local bodies, he said the GIS (Geographic Information System) maps would help to identify leaks and repair them in time.

The pilot project, estimated to cost Rs.4 crore, would be taken up in Thiruvananthapuram. The mapping would be extended to Kochi and Kozhikode in the next phase and the rural areas later, Mr. Premachandran added.

The Minister said the area around the water transmission pipes would be freed of encroachments and declared a protected zone to ensure unrestricted access for the KWA. Admitting that removal of encroachments would pose a major challenge, he said the legal and technical issues would be sorted out.

Water quality

Mr. Premachandran said water quality had emerged as a major problem in Kerala. “Water quality surveys carried out by the KWA and the State Pollution Control Board have revealed bacterial and chemical contamination of ground and surface water resources. Sewage contamination of drinking water is a matter of concern in many cities.”

The Minister stressed the need for a participatory programme to ensure the quality of water from available sources. He said the water testing kits supplied to local bodies under the National Rural Drinking Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Programme would help identify pollution sources and take up remedial measures to prevent the outbreak of water- borne diseases.

City’s water woes

Mr. Premachandran said the KWA was working on plans to bridge the demand-supply gap for drinking water in Thiruvananthapuram. “Since the last augmentation project, the number of connections has gone up by 62,000. High rise apartment blocks and commercial complexes have pushed up the demand. The inconvenience caused by pipe laying works in a congested city like Thiruvananthapuram has generated problems for the JBIC scheme. The public has to realise that there is no alternative,” he said.

Leak detector

The Minister said an electronic leak detector would be pressed into service as part of the JBIC project. The KWA has taken up a project to rehabilitate the old treatment plant at Aruvikkara and replace the old distribution pipelines, he added.