Sum­mer isn’t here but wa­ter short­age has al­ready ar­rived

The New Indian Express - - NEWS - MAD­HUMITHA VISWANATH

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.

Con­tin­gency mea­sures

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.

D SAMPATHKUMAR

Res­i­dents of Chin­tadripet flock near a Metro Wa­ter truck on Sun­day|

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