CHENNAI: Chennai will have to wait longer than planned to make use of its fifth reservoir that is being built in the neighbouring Tiruvallur district. Continuous rains in the Uthukottai-Gummudipoondi stretch have been delaying work for the past two months due to which four more months are needed to complete the construction, said officials.
The reservoir which is being built by combining two lakes in Thervoy Kandigai and Kannankottai villages was supposed to be ready by September 30 as per the Public Works Department's initial plan. But with 20 per cent of the work still pending, the project is yet again delayed. "We are trying to complete a portion of the reservoir by October 31 so that close to 200 Mcft can be stored when northeast monsoon rains sets in. We need 60 days more to complete rest of the crucial works," said a senior official from the Water Resource Department.
Officials said that in the last two months, workers could engage in construction work only for ten days due to the rains. Also, the supply of rough stone used in covering the watershed area of the reservoir has not been regular which further delayed the progress. "These rough stones are sourced from a place 100 kilometers away from the project site. Sometimes supply is not regular. Moreover, even if it rains lightly, trucks carrying these stones will not be able to enter the site," added the official.
The project has been going on for the past six years and faced major opposition from local villagers over land acquisition. During October 2018, construction of the reservoir started after overcoming legal hurdles. Though officials were earlier very confident to reap the benefits of northeast monsoons this year, the delay in works has spoiled the plans.
Krishna Water distribution to start soon:
As Poondi reservoir is fast filling up with a steady supply of 800 cusecs of Krishna River water, officials said supply of the river's water will begin to the city in the next two days.
As water levels have crossed the transferrable point in Poondi reservoir, water will be diverted to Red Hills and from there will be treated and supplied to the city by Metro Water. As of now, Poondi reservoir has a storage of around 940 Mcft of water which makes the transfer of water possible to Red Hills which has low storage of 49 Mcft.
Thanks to Krishna water supply, combined storage of four reservoirs has crossed 1 Tmcft, the first time in around eight months. "We are focusing on supply Krishna water to North and Central Chennai first by filling up Poondi and Red Hills reservoirs. South Chennai's needs are met by supply from Veeranam dam and two desalination plants. Also, we can only send under 500 cusecs to Red hills as the feeder canal can only hold so much water," said a PWD official.