Chennai: The Tamil Nadu officials are mulling to build a pipeline for about 300 kilometres to bring Krishna River water much quicker to Chennai's reservoirs. The officials said this they consider as one of the measures to avoid water crisis in future.
The city faced one of the worst water crisis this summer, though the situation has improved much after the monsoon rains.
As per the Telugu Ganga project started in the 1980s, Andhra Pradesh has to provide 12 Thousand Million Cubic Feet (Tmcft) annually to meet Chennai’s drinking water needs.
Currently, the water is diverted by an open canal from the Kandaleru reservoir in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai's reservoirs.
Two months ago, officials proposed to build a 150 km long pipeline connecting Kandaleru with Poondi reservoir in Chennai. Even as this project remains a non-starter, the officials have now proposed
to instead build a much longer pipeline up to the Srisailam dam.
Highly placed sources told Express that they are exploring alternate solutions such as this as Kandaleru reservoir may not be the ideal source to draw Krishna River water as it reaches its dead storage level very quickly.
The pipeline would also help avoiding water wastage in transportation through the canal, which is a whopping 30 per cent, said officials from the Water Resource Department.
"While the construction cost for this project is quite high, if such a pipeline is laid, there will be no maintenance required for the next 15 years. There will be minimum scope for people to illegal tap water too," said a senior official.
The present the open canal can carry only 1,000 cusecs of which nearly 400 cusecs is lost in transportation and for the past three years, Chennai has not received even three Tmcft. Due to this limitation, a pipeline between the two reservoirs maybe the need of the hour.
Sources said that till date no talks have been initiated with the Andhra Pradesh government about the Kandaleru-Poondi project while the plan to extend the project to include Srisailam in the project hasn't
been broached yet within the government.
Why Srisailam is a better alternative
Moreover, Srisailam which has a total capacity to hold 215 Tmcft, is 40 per cent full throughout the year.
Compared to this, Kandaleru is a much smaller reservoir which takes a long time to meet even its half
way mark due to limited water sources.
If a pipeline is laid connecting Srisailam to either Poondi or Red Hills, officials said Chennai will receive Krishna River water in just three to four days after it is released in Andhra Pradesh against one
month, which is the scenario now. Though the pipeline has to be laid for an extra 180 km to reach Srisailam reservoir from Kandaleru, this is a more reliable option, said, officials.
"Its takes almost one month for water to reach Kandaleru reservoir from Srisailam. And from there it takes four days to reach the Uthukottai. Also, lakhs of litres of Krishna water ends up in the sea from Prakash Barrage. Instead, a part of this can be used for drinking water needs," said another senior official from PWD.
If this project is taken up by the government, officials said a direct pipeline can be even laid from Somasila reservoir to Red Hills or Poondi to cut down on pipe laying cost. But sources said there are chances for World Bank to partly fund this project as it involves drinking water needs of Chennai.