CHENNAI: In four years, the city’s thirst will be successfully quenched as the Chennai Metro Water has invited international bidders to build a 400-MLD capacity seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant at Perur along the East Coast Road in Kancheepuram district. It is also awaiting funds from the World Bank for a project aimed at recharging waterbodies with recycled water.
The desalination plant that may begin operation by 2024 could reduce city’s water troubles to a great extend, a top Metro Water official told Express. The areas newly added to city limits have increased demand to an estimated 1,100 million litres a day (MLD) of piped water supply. But, at present the Metro Water is even struggling to supply 831 MLD of water to the city.
Currently, the newly added areas are completely dependent on overhead tanks as well as ground water, which cannot be relied upon during summer months. The bids were called for after the State government accorded administrative sanction to establish the plant for `6,078.4 crore. This will be the fourth desalination plant for the water board.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide financial assistance. The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board had prepared a detailed project report (DPR) and submitted it to the government on July 23 in 2014 seeking financial assistance from JICA. Once the desalination plant becomes operational, the city will be capable of supplying 730 MLD of drinking water. This will be further supplemented by treating grey water.
The project is being taken up by academic institutions like IIT Madras, where recycled water will be blended with freshwater in lakes and again pumped to be treated and distributed through the supply network. “We will be using IIT’s ultra-filtration membrane — an important water purification technology used for production of high purity water — to remove pathogens.
The membrane has an additional carbon filter which removes the residuals, following which it is ozonated (made free of bacteria),” the official said. The tertiary treatment plants will come up in Nesapakkam and Perungudi, and Chennai will be a role model for cities in usage of grey water for industry as well as drinking water purposes, he added. The city is unlikely to face water crisis during the summer next year, he said.