CHENNAI: In what could be a tribute to 100 years of untiring work to provide treated water supply system in Chennai, Metro water is giving a new look to its 100-year-old Kilpauk Water Treatment Plant.
Concieved by J W Madley in 1914, and inaugurated by Lord Penland, the plant has completed 100 years of treated water supply to the city.
Devoid of any perennial source, the city has been dependent on wells, ponds and lakes for their need to quench their thirst.
The piped water originated after engineer James Fraser proposed to provide piped water supply to Chennai City, said Metro water spokesman.
He said that Korataliar River originating from the Nagari Hills, about 165 km north-west of Madras was identified as the source of water by Fraser.
To tap the water, masonry weir of six feet height was built across the river at Tamaraipakkam, about 27 km from city. From this weir, water was diverted to Cholavaram lake by means of Upper Supply Channel.
From the Cholavaram Lake, water was diverted to Redhills lake by means of 4km long Lower Supply Channel. Redhills lake still remain as the terminal storage point of water. From this lake water was brought to Kilpauk Shaft by 10 km long earthen supply channel. From the Kilpauk Shaft water was distributed to the city though cast iron mains.
As years passed by, this system was found to be inherent with certain technical and safety glitches and no improvement works were taken up till 1914.
It was in 1914 that JW Madeley, the then Special Engineer of the Chennai Municipal Corporation formulated the Treated Water Supply System to the Chennai City.
The system developed by Madeley included several technical features such as an intake tower in the Red Hills Lake located at the deepest point in the lake, so that the lake can be almost entirely emptied without pumping besides a covered underground masonry conduit in place of the open earth channel, slow sand filters to purify the water, pure water tanks to store the filtered water, steam powered pumps to impart an adequate pressure to the water. Later in the year 1936 two electrical operated pumps were installed which are working tirelessly even today, says the Metro Water spokesman.
He said after independence several improvement and expansion works have been carried out by Chennai Municipal Corporation and the Chennai Metrowater Board.
The Poondi Reservoir was one of the improvements, constructed and commissioned in the year 1944, he added.
He said the engineers of Chennai Metro Water have been working to provide clean drinking water to quench the thirst of the city despite challenges like failure of monsoon. The 100 years of Kilpauk water treatment plant is also a tribute to Chennai Metro Water engineers.