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Rains unable to fill Chennai’s reservoirs

K. Lakshmi
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It may be another week or 10 days before the storage in the four bodies improves

The inflow to the storage bodies, just enough to meet the city’s needs, has been steady due to rains and Krishna water supply that resumed last week after work to plug a leak at Ubbalamadugu was completed —Photo: K. Pichumani
The inflow to the storage bodies, just enough to meet the city’s needs, has been steady due to rains and Krishna water supply that resumed last week after work to plug a leak at Ubbalamadugu was completed —Photo: K. Pichumani

The city’s reservoirs have been recording steady inflow for the past few days, thanks to intermittent showers and release of Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh.

However, the quantity received by the reservoirs is just enough to meet the drinking water needs of the city. It may take another week or ten days for the storage to improve in the nearly-dry water bodies. At present, the four reservoirs in Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam have 10 per cent storage of their combined capacity of 11,057 million cubic feet (mcft).

The Poondi reservoir has received Krishna water supply after several hiccups in the past couple of weeks. Water release from Kandaleru reservoir resumed last week after the leak, which developed for the second time in the temporary channel built at Ubbalamadugu near Tada in Andhra Pradesh to transport water to Chennai, was plugged.

The damaged portion of the Kandaleru Poondi canal is now being repaired in the area. The entry point of the canal in the State at Uthukottai in Tiruvallur is getting close to 170 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of water.

The reservoir at Poondi, the prime storage point of water, receives 235 cusecs of inflow that includes rainwater. About 100 cusecs of water is diverted to the water body in Red Hills to cater to the city’s needs. If the reservoir gets a steady inflow of 500 cusecs, it would take about two months for the water body to fill up.

Sources in the Water Resources Department said rains and Krishna water would prevent the storage in the reservoirs from dipping further. “We have so far received 50 mcft of Krishna water since the release commenced this month. This is equal to three days of drinking water supply. Rains have added another 200 mcft to the reservoirs,” an official said.

The Poondi reservoir has to get about 300 cusecs to maintain the quantity of 550 million litres supplied to the city on alternate days. Andhra Pradesh authorities have promised to step up the release of Krishna water in a week and continue providing the augmented supply for one or two months.

Meanwhile, Chennai Metrowater has started tapping 50 mld from the Neyveli region this week. The city may be saved from a deepened water crisis if Krishna water supply continues. But it may take a while for daily water supply to resume.

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