Flow of Kandaleru water to city has stopped

CHENNAI, APRIL 24. Flow of Kandaleru water from Andhra Pradesh to Chennai has stopped. This has been acknowledged by officials of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The flow actually stopped four days ago. Since the beginning of this month, it was meagre and there were days when the inflow was nil. In fact, the week that ended on April 20, the flow was just a few cusecs (cubic feet per second).

Low storage of the Kandaleru dam is cited as the major reason for Chennai not being in a position to receive water.

A senior official of the Andhra Pradesh irrigation department says as per the records of his State, Tuesday was the last day the water reached the Zero Point of the Kandaleru-Poondi Canal at Tamaraikuppam, about 80 km north of Chennai.

However, Tamil Nadu officials formally closed the account of receipt of the water only yesterday. Desperate to receive any amount of water in view of the grave situation, officials of the Public Works Department (PWD), which monitors the flow position, waited for a few more days before concluding that no water would hereafter flow to the city.

About a week ago, two senior officers of the Chennai Metrowater visited the Kandaleru dam, about 180 km from the city, to have a first hand information of the pumping operations being carried out by the Andhra Pradesh irrigation department. This morning, about 230 cusecs was pumped out of the dam and let into the KP Canal. The storage of the dam was 1.37 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft).

But, the neighbouring State's officials concede that some persons are resorting to illicit drawal of water en route the canal. They express their helplessness in view of the prevailing drought conditions. The water, released from Kandaleru, does not flow beyond 110 km.

According to the Andhra Pradesh officials, they planned to pump 2.5 tmcft from the dam.

Till now, 2.3 tmcft had been drawn.

The pumping operations began on January 12 but were suspended on a few occasions. It was only since March 4 that the operations were effectively commenced and the initial flow of water reached the Zero Point on March 7.

Originally, the neighbouring State proposed to supply half-a-tmcft (500 mcft) of water to the city. But, what Chennai received was 206 mcft, equivalent to about two weeks' supply to the city at the present level of 175 million litres a day (MLD).

On Saturday morning, the storage of Red Hills and Satyamurthi Sagar at Poondi stood at 170 mcft against the total capacity of 6.56 tmcft.

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