Soon, city residents may not have to wait endlessly for rectification of water supply and sewage-related problems.

In a few months, Chennai Metrowater will introduce automated inline water quality monitoring system to constantly check the quality of water supplied to residents.

On Tuesday, municipal administration and water supply minister, K.P. Munusamy, announced in the State Assembly that the monitoring devices would be fixed at 50 spots across the city, at a cost of Rs. 1.8 crore.

At present, field staff members of Metrowater manually collect 3,500 water samples every day, from water distribution stations to domestic service connections.

According to an official, once the GSM/GPRS-enabled integrated water quality monitoring system is in place, Metrowater will be able to continuously monitor the quality of drinking water.

The devices that will be attached to pipelines in various places, including MRC Nagar and Anna Nagar, will test quality during the hourly flow of water. The sensors in the device will transmit the data to a central control room to be set up in the head office.

Three parameters — turbidity, residual chlorine and PH levels — will be monitored at regular intervals during a day. At present, it takes time to test samples in a water lab, detect contamination and communicate to the authorities concerned. This causes a delay in the rectification process.

With the new system, officials need not wait for complaints on contamination or lab test results to rectify a contamination problem.

Similarly, sewage overflows are expected to be minimised, particularly during the monsoon. For the first time in the State, Metrowater will implement automated operations in the 218 pumping stations across the city. Now, the sewage stations are operated manually.

Ultrasonic level detectors will be installed in sewage-collection wells to automatically pump sewage when the level is high and stop when the flow is low.

Minister Munusamy said in the Assembly that the amount of drinking water supplied to city residents would be increased from the existing 831 million litres a day (MLD) to 1,000 MLD by 2016, when the various projects to create new water sources are completed.