CHENNAI: Water managers, who are tapping every resource, are a concerned lot after their over-two-year-old proposal to desilt the four reservoirs supplying water to the city has yet to get the green signal.
The Water Resources Department submitted a proposal to desilt the Chembarambakkam, Red Hills, Poondi and Cholavaram reservoirs to increase its capacity which in turn would help in countering floods. However, more than two years have passed but the proposal is still awaiting nod from the State government.
A Water Resources Department official told Express that the proposal would increase the holding capacity of the reservoirs by additional one TMC of water which could cater to the city’s needs for more than a month. The source told Express the proposal to desilt the four reservoirs would cost the exchequer `50 crore, but we have suggested a revenue model wherein the sand desilted from the reservoir would fetch an additional revenue of `600 crores.
WRD sources told Express that desilting operation can be done only during five months in a year as there are restrictions on the volume of silt that could be removed. “The plan is to remove seven feet of silt from the reservoirs to increase the storage capacity of the lakes. However, despite several reminders, the proposal is stuck and we don’t know why it is taking such a long time,” the source said.
It is learnt that once the proposal is cleared, illegal sand mining could be restricted.
Similarly, the Water Resources department has suggested construction of seven or eight check-dams to recharge groundwater and address the salinity issue. Most of the check-dams planned are pending. Construction of check-dams is one of the methods of recharging groundwater. During monsoon, a large quantum of rainfall reaches the sea as runoff and also results in flooding during peak monsoon rains. The check-dams will help in harvesting this surface runoff, the official said.