Bigger city, little water

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Officials of Chennai metro water would have their work cut out this summer. Several north Chennai pockets still remain vulnerable to supply deficiency.

Also, the 42 local bodies merged with Chennai corporation are yet to be linked to CMWSSB (Chennai metropolitan water supply and sewerage board) main water supply line.

Another six months would be required to rectify technical defects and supply water to the vulnerable north Chennai areas on a par with affluent city pockets, senior CMWSSB officials pointed out.

Residents of Tondiarpet, Washermanpet and Kasimedu in north Chennai get between 50 and 65 lpcd (litres per capita per day), against the 135 lpcd prescribed by the Central public health organisation, while those in Adyar, Besant Nagar, Alwar Thirunagar, Arumbakkam, MMDA colony, Choolaimedu, Nungambakkam, Saligramam and parts of Vadapalani get between 160 and 205 lpcd, officials revealed to Deccan Chronicle.

Chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, in last year’s budget, expressed concern over the supply disparity; however, remedial measures in north Chennai have gained steam only now. Officials attributed the delay to last year’s Assembly election followed by the monsoon and obtaining permission for road cutting.

As regards the added areas, CMWSSB has taken up works at a cost of `22 crore to enhance water supply there. Works include setting up more filling points, tanks and operation of more water tankers to the added areas.

Be it north Chennai or the 42 added civic bodies, CMWSSB would operate more tankers to overcome the supply-demand mismatch. Currently, 300 tankers make nearly 2,000-odd trips daily to supply 10 mld to taxpayers in north Chennai despite availability of pipelines.

Currently, CMWSSB supplies 830-840 mld (million litres per day) to meet the drinking water needs of an erstwhile Chennai comprising 176 sq km, at the rate of 135 lpcd.

With the city reservoirs, Chembarambakkam, Poondi, Puzhal and Cholavaram, jointly storing 6.837 tmcft of water, against the full capacity of 11.057 tmcft, water managers are confident of good supply for at least the next two-and-a-half months even as the average monthly demand would surge past 1.2 tmcft during the summer days.

Short supply of water unites all councillors

Be it the prestigious city corporation that was recently expanded or the municipalities located on the outskirts of Chennai, the council proceedings are disrupted with ward representatives screaming at the authorities, seeking adequate drinking water supply for residents.

Cutting across party lines, the councillors of Tiruvallur municipality demanded the local body provide uninterrupted water supply. Though Triruvallur municipal chairman A. Bhaskar said power disruption has affected water supply through pipes, he assured that new borewells were coming up in the locality to enable uninterrupted water supply.

“If the situation persists, the public and members of residents welfare organisations would have no other option but to hold demonstrations as the situation is acute in suburban Chengalpet,” warned Mr N. Sekar, a lecturer and resident of Chengalpet.

According to Chengalpet municipal sources, of the 33 wards, more than 15 suffer from drinking water shortage and a majority of the residents depend on can water.

Municipal chairman Sathish Babu admitted to the water shortage and said steps were being taken to repair the worn out pipes to improve supply.

According to Pallavaram legislator Dhansingh, there is a scope for improving water supply though the situation has improved this year. Due to power cuts, the authorities are unable to meet the total demand. Massive generators are to be rented and would operate the high-power motor pumps round-the-clock on the Palar basin. The move would help residents tackle the summer season, he said.

The situation in the tail-end areas of north Chennai is also not happy and divisions 96 and 97 in Ayanavaram suffer from inadequate water supply, rues Mr K. Ramadoss, president, north Chennai district Exnora. Adding to the woes, the drinking water pipelines are damaged by private contractors who take up new stormwater drain and water supply works, he charged.

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