Four reservoirs to get more storage

Silt to be removed after years; officials blame delay on administrative reasons and lack of funding

Published - November 09, 2018 01:05 am IST - CHENNAI

The city’s reservoirs will soon be able to store more water. The Water Resources Department is gearing up to remove silt deposited in the waterbodies after years of project planning.

The reservoir at Cholavaram will be the first among the four waterbodies, including Poondi, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam, to be desilted and provided with improved infrastructure.

The project is crucial as the reservoirs are primary sources of Chennai’s drinking water.

Pointing out that this is the first major project taken up in many decades, officials of the WRD said the work was delayed due to administrative reasons and lack of funding.

While work would be initiated in the Cholavaram lake at a cost of ₹5.4 crore by December, the department is awaiting government order to take up the project in other reservoirs early next year.

Besides repairing the shutters, the silt deposited in the lake would be removed and a road would be laid on top of the bund to be used as an inspection track.

The upper supply channel, which brings inflow from Tamaraipakkam anicut, and lower supply channel, used to discharge water to Red Hills reservoir, are also being improved, an official said.

Officials recalled that the storage of Cholavaram reservoir was already increased by 200 million cubic feet (mcft) by raising the full tank level. Similar works would be taken up at Chembarambakkam and Poondi reservoirs.

In Red Hills, the long-pending problem of misuse of water spread area along Ambattur-Red Hills Road would be addressed. “We plan to form a foreshore bund on the rear portion of the reservoir to prevent encroachments,” said an official.

Project to run for 3 years

The project period would run to three years as a desilting exercise can be done during the months when the water level is low.

The total capacity of the reservoirs now is 11,257 mcft. This would be further increased by nearly 2,000 mcft once the project is completed.

The additional storage equals two months of city water supply.

“We are also seeking advice from the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement project on executing the project, including strengthening the bund. The project would also generate revenue for the government through sale of savudu soil removed from the reservoirs,” the official added.

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