Chennai Metro Water is planning to rejuvenate the department’s acquifer borewells and handpumps as part of its contingency plans to ensure uninterrupted water supply to the city even as the water levels in reservoirs are dipping slowly.
As per the plan, Metro Water is planning to renovate the acquifer borewells owned by the department, which is currently providing 35 Million Litres per Day (MLD) of water to city. “We are planning to increase it to 25 to 30 MLD,” said a source from Metro Water who added that they had identified 800 borewells that needed to be rejuvenated.
Although the Water Resources Department maintains that the city’s water supply would last till July 31, Metro Water is taking no chances. Sources said that the water levels have dipped more than 40 to 45 per cent when compared to last year, which has resulted in chalking out an emergency plan. Metro Water feels that through the contingency measures it can ensure the supply of 831 Million Litres per Day (MLD) of water to the city. In addition, a survey has been carried out on identifying streetwise handpumps. Some of the existing handpumps are being repaired or replaced with India Mark II pumps. “The repairs would be over by April 15,” the source said. The city has 3,500 handpumps which are being used in various localities.
Currently the four reservoirs – Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam have a total of 3,944 million cubic feet of water. This constitutes only 35.67 per cent of total water available for the city during the summer. The Veeranam lake, which had totally dried up, now has a total of 224.60 million cubic feet of water thanks to the efforts of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, under whose order water has been released.
Metro Water officials said that Veeranam has been providing 90 MLD of water for the last 10-15 days. Interestingly, during this moment of crisis due to erratic rainfall and dwindling water in reservoirs, the only saving grace for the city has been the supply of additional 100 MLD of water from the Nemmelli desalination plant. Currently, water is being provided to Indira Nagar, Beasant Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur and PTC Colony, Kottivakkam division, Thoraipakkam division and Sholinganallur. Now Metro water is also planning to provide water to MRC Nagar and other areas.
Interestingly, plans are underway to take up source augmentation in arid areas. There are also plans to readjust water resdistribution system besides the augmentation of water tankers. But sources feel the contingency plan cannot succeed unless Chennaites also come forward to conserve water and follow rain water harvesting. More than that, the rain gods need to shower their blessings on the city, they said.