Summer isn’t here but water shortage has already arrived
EVEN though summer is a good two months away, residents in many localities are already grappling with water shortage problems. Core areas like West Mambalam, T Nagar, Royapettah, Choolaimedu, Alandur, parts of Velachery, Valasaravakkam, Chetpet, Kodungaiyur and Adyar are already witnessing disruptions in water supply, causing inconvenience to residents. The city is currently being supplied with 480-550 MLD of water on alternate days, against a requirement of 850 MLD. This gap is only likely to widen as summer approaches. Making matters worse, there is currently less than 1 tmcft water in all four reservoirs combined. Residents in parts of Triplicane, Alwarpet, and West Velachery have been managing without water for close to a week. “We get Metro Water supply only on alternate weeks. Last week we were struggling without water. The situation is only going to worsen,” says Usha Narayan, a resident of West Mambalam. Does the government have a backup plan ?
As most of the extended areas do not have water connections yet, we will supply water through lorries and hand-pumps
Metro Water official
“VELACHERY West is already facing the brunt of severe water shortage and summer hasn’t even begun. Also, as groundwater levels have dipped and most borewells have gone dry too. Two days ago, Metro Water informed us that water delivery through tankers might elapse in the coming days. They are just rotating the online booking slots,” said Bhuvan, a resident of West Velachery.
Delay in execution
Also, the government’s back up plans for the city to tackle a situation like this have been constantly delayed. Though the plans of building an additional reservoir and a mega desalination plant were put into action with a forethought of avoiding a future water crisis, things have been moving at a snail’s pace. By combining two lakes in Tiruvallur district, the Thervoy Kandigai reservoir of one tmcft capacity was supposed to be commissioned by 2016. But due to delay in the land acquisition process, the city will have its fifth reservoir functional only by November this year. “Around 80 per cent of the work is completed. As the most tedious process of land acquisition is completed, the reservoir will be ready to store water by next northeast monsoon,” said a Water Resource Department (WRD) official. On the other hand, the 400MLD mega desalination plant at Nemmeli will be fully functional only by 2023, said Metro Water officials. Also, the other 150-MLD desalination plant is tied up in a court case, delaying the completion of the project further. “Currently, the process is going on to choose a consultant to come up with the plan for the plant. There are several processes to be completed, before the actual construction starts,” said a official.
The Metro Water board has been granted `122 crore by the government for drought mitigation work. Using these funds, the board plans to erect 171 new borewells and 423 hand pumps, hire around 300 additional lorries and purchase 1,294 storage tanks in areas lacking piped water. Officials said that tail-end areas in each of 15 zones and slums will have reduced water supply, but water from Sikkaiyapuram quarries and agricultural wells that will be treated and sent to the Puzhal reservoir will help in cushioning the shortage. “As supply will reduce towards the tail of the connections, areas in the vicinity will be affected. But zones such as Manali, Tiruvottiyur, Madhavaram and Adyar which are supplied from desalination plants will not face too much of a shortage,” said an official. Also, officials said that Krishna water is expected to be released to the city by Monday or Tuesday.
Residents of Chintadripet flock near a Metro Water truck on Sunday|