Interconnection work delayed due to joint leak

Staff Reporter

Water supply disruption from Tuesday night

Aruvikkara plant to be closed today

Utility cables hinder KWA work

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Many parts of the city will see partial or total disruption of drinking water supply on Wednesday as the 82 mld treatment plant at Aruvikkara would be shut down at 10 p.m. on Tuesday to facilitate the fixing of a leak in the interconnection point of two main pipelines on the Vellayambalam-Kowdiar stretch.

The repair is expected to be over by Wednesday morning. The treatment plant was shut down at noon on Saturday to allow the interconnection of the main line bringing water from the plant to the reservoir at Observatory Hill and another pipeline laid as part of the JICA scheme. Normal supply of water was expected to be restored by Sunday afternoon.

However, additional welding work required at the site delayed the completion of the interconnection. Finally at 2.30 a.m. on Sunday when ‘gravity flow' of water was started from the plant, leaks were detected at the point where detachable ‘flange' joints had been screwed on to the pipeline coming from Aruvikkara. The leaks intensified when one pump at the plant was turned on and the flow of water strengthened.

By 3 a.m., when it became clear to KWA engineers that any immediate repair on the joint would result in the city going without water on Monday, they decided to keep the treatment plant running so that the city's reservoirs could be filled up. In the process, though, a sizeable quantity of water was lost through the leak. Though engineers also attempted to feed the Observatory Hill reservoir from the one at PTP Nagar, they could not succeed.

KWA Managing Director Susan Jacob told The Hindu on Monday that the two ‘flange' joints in the pipeline would be removed and two pieces of mild steel pipes welded in place. According to sources in the KWA, the interconnection done at the Vellayambalam-Kowdiar road would not result in any immediate benefit to the city as another similar interconnection needs to be done on the Vellayambalam-Museum road.

This work was not done on Sunday because JICA officials found a large number of utility cables by the side of the road.

“We could not have finished that interconnection during the declared time,” JICA executive engineer G. Sreekumar explained. Moreover, if water is to flow from these interconnected lines into the reservoir at Observatory Hill, an inlet too needs to be put in place.

On Monday morning Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran announced in the Assembly that the repair of the leaking joint would begin at 10 p.m. on Monday.

A press note issued by the Ms. Jacob on Monday said the repair was being postponed to Tuesday because normal supply of water to all parts of the city was yet to be restored after the shutdown that began on Saturday.