CHENNAI : If Chennai’s thirst has to be quenched in 2030, the city will have to go as far as 250 km to ensure sufficient water supply at 120 litre per capita per day, according to Dr Umamaheshwaran Rajasekar, chair, Urban Resilience, National Institute of Urban Affairs.Delivering a special address at an event ‘Urban Thinker’s Campus -- Making Chennai Water Positive’ organised by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Rajasekar said the study, which did not take into account the extraction of ground water, was based on the hydrology model which depicts how far a city needs to go to quench its thirst.
Stating that recharge of ground water is not the only solution to resolve the crisis, he said that even if the soil is good, only 15 per cent recharge of water could be done. “It could help only to a certain extent,” he said.He also said that the National Institute of Urban Affairs, in joint partnership with the MCCI and IIT-Madras, would be launching an Urban Data Observatory to enable decision-making on urban issues. “The pilot will be undertaken in Chennai and a MoU has been signed,” he said. “We are drafting currently the issues that is required and it pertains to government as well as citizen,” he said.
Hans Raj Verma, state additional chief secretary, rural development and panchayat raj, said that canals’ capacity in Tamil Nadu had increased by 30 per cent due to Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation and Water Bodies Restoration and Management (TN IAMWARM) project. He highlighted how Naganadhi in Vellore was restored and sought help of corporates and NGOs in revival of dead rivers.
T Prabhushankar, executive director of Metro Water, said Chennai has been facing water crisis since the 19th century. He highlighted how Metro Water has been tapping every source of water. The government is now thinking of deepening the quarries from which it has extracted water during the crisis as it would also help in flood mitigation, he said.
The city would soon be getting additional 550 MLD of water in the next two to three years with the commissioning of two desalination plants. Metro Water would be inaugurating the Koyambedu TTRO plant to supply 60 MLD of water to industries in Sriperumbudur. “We have already opened the Kodungaiyur plant and has expanded the capacity from 45 MLD of water per day to 60 MLD,” he said.Chennai Metro water has prepared a detailed project report for recycling sewage into potable water.
This will provide regular supply of 260 MLD. The plan is to recycle sewage into potable drinking water by setting up tertiary treatment plants. The treated water will be released into identified water bodies for recharge and pumped back into city’s water distribution network. Currently, Metro Water supplies 830MLD water.