Reservoirs go dry, Chennai stares at water crisis

Desilting work at Cholavaram reservoir to begin by next month said officials as the lake bed has completely dried up.

Published: 26th August 2018 02:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th August 2018 03:00 PM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes (File | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Chennai is staring at a possible water crisis as two of its major reservoirs which are prime suppliers of drinking water to the city have gone bone dry. Poondi and Cholavaram reservoirs have reached their dead storage levels with current water levels in both standing at a dismal 14mcft, according to the Metro Water website on Saturday.  

As the present volume of all four prime drinking water sources to the city is merely 11% of its total capacity, officials said this will cater to the city’s needs only for the next two and a half months.  

The combined capacity of lakes at Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam was 2.43tmcft in June. In a month’s time the storage levels had dipped to 1.79tmcft with current level standing at 1.25tmcft as of Saturday.

 As reservoir levels have been steadily depleting since May, the city is majorly dependent on North East monsoons to avoid a water crisis this year end. “The current state of water levels is worrisome. But if monsoons fail like last year, we will draw water from quarries, groundwater sources and from the two desalination plants,” said an official from Metro Water.

Apart from these four reservoirs, the city is heavily dependent on water released from Veeranam Lake with 74-77 cusecs of water is being discharged every day into the Porur Lake said officials from Water Resource Department of Public Works Department. “We have discussed with Metro Water which will draw 180MLD of water from Veeranam Lake every day. Once the Porur Lake fills up, water will be released to all four reservoirs,” said the official.

Next major source of water, water from Krishna River, which was supposed to reach the state by October end maybe further delay as water levels at both Kandaleru and Somasila reservoirs in Andhra Pradesh are below transferrable levels, said Metro Water officials.

As of August 23, storage levels at Kandaleru were at 3.95tmcft and 11.75tmcft at Somasila, both below the transferable level mark. “Only Srisailam reservoir was well above this mark at 207tmcft. Rest of the reservoirs is almost dry to low rainfall. Due to floods in Kerala the joint committee meeting was postponed to next month. We will raise this issue then,” added the official

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  • krishnamurthy

    How can porur lake water will be released to all four reservoirs? Is it possible?
    4 years ago reply
  • Amarnath

    Chennai is water-starved city since long. Neither the municipality nor the state government did anything to improve, develop and construct new water storage systems or water sources. What has grown steadily over the years is the water supply business, owned and controlled by the politicians of both the ruling and opposition parties. They earn crores of rupees and thus effectively take care that the water supply never improves in Chennai. And Chennai people also got accustomed to buy water regularly from market. Thus Chennai people are regular in buying water and pay taxes also
    4 years ago reply
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