As reservoirs are drying up, the Water Supply Board is facing a Herculean task in managing supply in the city.
Officials are working out contingency plans so that Chennaiites don’t face any crisis for the next three months, till the North-East monsoon arrives in October.
“Metro Water is planning to get an additional supply of 50 MLD (million litres per day) of water from Neyveli. The work is close to completion and currently we are fixing the mortar. By first week of July, we will have additional 50 MLD of water,” a Metro Water official said.
Currently, Metro Water is supplying water to the city through the two desalination plants, besides 100 MLD from ground water. In addition, water is also being supplied through the reservoirs that have very little water available. Metro Water is also getting 80 MLD of water from the well fields.
The reservoirs in the city have only about 1.5 tmc (thousand million cubic) feet of water. “We have less water in Red Hills and Chembarambakkam. Sholavaram has dried up, while Poondi has little water,” a Metro Water source said. “This has resulted us in reorganising the supply to ensure Chennai doesn’t go thirsty for the next three months. We also require the support of residents. They have to use water judiciously,” said a Metro Water official. It is the ground water reserve, which is also helping Metro Water to maintain the supply.
The Metro Water official felt that the rainwater harvesting would help maintain enough supply.
Currently, Metro Water has also worked out a strategy on erecting rain water harvesting structures based on soil conditions. The better ground water situation has resulted in Metro Water putting to use 6,000 Mark II pumps and adding 1,000 more in far-flung areas, so that access to water is not denied. “We are also supplying drinking water to 7,000 HDPE tanks. This is used only for drinking purposes,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the tanker fleet of Metro Water has now been further strengthened t0 3,750.
Earlier, we were using 2,600 to 2,700 water tankers to supply water to residents in Chennai. “Now this has gone up to 3,750 tankers per day. With nearly, 1.5 tmc feet of water in reservoir, the biggest challenge before Metro Water is to work out a careful collaborated strategy besides managing water judiciously, so that the city doesn’t go thirsty till the monsoon arrives,” a Metro Water official said.