CHENNAI: While some in the city are busy stocking up food and medicines amid the lockdown over Coronavirus, South Chennai residents are busy stocking up water. This because the Metro Water is planning to stop supply from the Nemmeli desal plant for 15 days for maintenance work. Three corporation zones — Adyar, Perungudi, and parts of Sholinganallur — are heavily dependent on water supplied from the plant. Residents of these areas feel the maintenance works have come at the most inappropriate time, as the government has declared a lockdown due to COVID-19.
Office goers are working from home, schools have declared holidays, resorts, malls and other sources of entertainment are shut too. This is when water will be used the most, especially to remain clean: this was the sentiment echoed by several residents. Meanwhile, officials said the maintenance works have already started and it will go on till April 1. Though officials said alternative arrangements will be done to ensure there is no shortage, residents of Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, RK Nagar and Mandaveli started feeling the pinch on day one itself. “We got water at very low pressure just for 20 minutes. We have asked our MLA Natraj to talk to officials to postpone the works,” said Bala KL, a resident of Mandaveli.
Resident associations along OMR are already in a fix as most IT companies have asked employees to work from home. “Be floods, drought or a virus, employees are asked to work from home. We are a social organisation and not an industrial company who have the facilities to deal with situations like this. On top of this, maintenance works were announced. This has worsened the situation,” said Harsha Koda, of Federation of OMR Residents Association. Those in Santhome and Mylapore said that their sumps were half full and that the situation was manageable now. “Four days from now this will get worse. We will have to run behind tanker owners just like last year. Why can’t the maintenance be done a few months later?” said Venkat, a resident of Santhome.
A senior official said that all necessary arrangements have been made and that people need not panic.
“To compensate for the desal water, we are providing Chembarambakkam and Veeranam water. We couldn’t avoid this major work as we are installing a technologically advanced filter. Once this is installed, the plant won’t need regular maintenance shut downs,” said the official.