CHENNAI: At a time when residents are striving to manage with depleting water resources, our neighbouring state Andhra Pradesh has released 800 cusecs of Krishna river’s water to the state, which will reach the city by Tuesday afternoon. This comes as a relief to the residents, but might be short-lived as it will suffice the water needs of Chennai only for the next two months, said officials.
Officials from the Water Resource Department, who are monitoring the status of Krishna water release to the state, said that they are expecting to receive one Tmcft by this month end. “By Tuesday afternoon, we will initially receive 40 cusecs of water. Later, the flow will be gradually increased. Currently, water is 10 kilometres away from Poondi reservoir from where it will be treated and supplied to the city,” said a senior official.
As part of the Telugu Ganga Project, the state is entitled to receive four Tmcft of water between January to April. But due to low water levels in the Kandaleru Reservoir, Andhra Pradesh has been unable to supply the remaining three Tmcft, said the official. “AP government had released water for its own irrigation earlier this month. Hence, we got a portion from this. As per the project, we are supposed to receive 12 Tmcft every year. But, they did not release water in winter. We hope they keep their promise this summer,” said the official.
The city is currently being supplied with 480-550 MLD on alternate days against a requirement of 850 MLD. Water managers are heavily dependent on water from Veeranam Tank, which provides 180 MLD of water every day. An additional 30 MLD will be procured from quarries which will be supplied to the city by February end. Metro Water plans to tap water from 400-odd agricultural fields. This will be taken to a treatment plant and later directed to Redhills Reservoir.
As of Sunday, according to the Chennai Metro Water website, Poondi stored 157 Mcft of water, Cholavaram stood at 48 Mcft, Puzhal at 648 Mcft and Chembarambakkam at 40 Mcft. combined levels of these four tanks were recorded to be 893 Mcft, which is less than 10 per cent of their storage capacity.
Residents along OMR, ECR and core areas like T Nagar, Choolaimedu, Triplicane, Velachery and Royapettah are highly dependent on private water tankers who charge Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 for a load of 9000 litres and close to Rs 2,500 for 12,000 litres. Close to 800 MLD is supplied to the city through private tankers alone.