KERALA

KWA plans to replace concrete pipelines

Constant bursting of network forces authorities to examine proposals

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The repeated bursting of one of the pre-stressed concrete (PSC) pipelines ferrying water to the Medical College Hospital within a span of two weeks has focussed attention on the dilapidated condition of these lines that service several parts of the city.

The top-brass of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) have consistently turned a deaf ear to several requests made by middle-level KWA engineers over the last two years for a total replacement of all PSC pipes in the city's drinking water network. The last of such proposals was submitted about a month ago.

According to the Chief Engineer (South) of the KWA Abraham Zachariah the latest proposal has been earmarked for a detailed investigation. "I have asked the engineers to prepare a detailed design plan for replacing the PSC pipe network. This would require about Rs.30 crores," he told The Hindu today.

All the PSC pipes in the city's supply network were laid during the early 1970s and their `design life' is 20 to 25 years. Three major PSC pipe systems originate from the Peroorkada reservoir. One reaches the MCH via Ambalamukku, Vayalikkada, Paruthippara and Ulloor, while another reaches the MCH via Kowdiar, Marappalam, Pattom, Pottakuzhy and Kumarapuram. It is the second line that developed an `air block' and burst two times in the last two weeks.

A third PSC line originating from Peroorkada reaches Vellayambalam via Oolanpara, Pippinmoodu and Sasthamangalam. Last year following a `major burst' in this line at Pippinmoodu took more than 48 hours to get repaired.

In February this year the 700 mm PSC line originating from the Water Works Compound and reaching East Fort via the S.S. Kovil road and Thampanoor had burst at a point on the S. S. Kovil road. The fourth major PSC line originating from the Observatory reservoir and terminating at Vazhuthacaud is now leaking at two places. According to KWA executive engineer Thiruvananthapuram K. Sasi the other major lines in the network - mainly those made of cast iron and mild steel - can be expected to operate smoothly for some more years though many of them were laid in the 1930s when the city got a piped water supply system.

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