Water managers heave sigh of relief

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Chennai: Online instructor Anbuvendan wore more than a smile when he started to office from his house in Velachery on Thursday evening. But his happiness vanished after an overcast brought heavy showers before he reached Ekkattuthangal 15 minutes later. 
 
While he was happy over the filling of fast draining borewell at his house, a flooded and sewage overflowing 100 feet road in front of his office (near Kathipara flyover) forced him to almost wade through a pool of water that really stressed him out at a short notice. For several other commuters and office staff at Guindy Industrial Estate and Maduvankarai residents, the heavy spell exposed how vulnerable the city is when it comes to facing  monsoon’s fury.
 
In barely two hours, knee-deep water flowed on 100 feet and Race Course roads, much to the dismay of commuters and motorists. However, officials at Chennai Metro Water (CMWSSB) and water resource organisation (WRO), like most water-starved taxpayers, were celebrating the flash floods. 
 
The water managers have reason to celebrate for the last fortnight had been one of the toughest they had faced in nearly a last decade as they were forced to cut down supply to Chennai city by 25 per cent. 
 
Senior CMWSSB officials said that they have only been supplying 550-600mld (million litres per day) since May 22, against the required 830mld. The current supply would be less than the 145 lpcd (litre per capita per day) prescribed by central public health organisation. 
 
“We can maintain the present 550-600mld supply till mid-July with the existing 2tmcft in reservoirs. It can be sustained till August end if only we receive Krishna water and heavy spells like today,” officials reasoned. 
 
Showers pick holes in civic body’s ‘flood-free city’ claim 
 
A meager 1.4 cm rain that lashed city for less than two hours threw normalcy out of gear across the recently expanded Grea­ter Chennai. 
 
Traffic jam, flooded roads, sewer overflow and tense policemen diverting traffic flow were visible in several parts of city. The situation was worse in South Chennai as all the arterial roads including Anna Salai and Inner Ring Road suffered traffic chaos.
 
Though Central and North Chennai witnessed mild waterlogging, the situation was worse in stretches where metro rail works are progressing. The corporation’s tall claim of flood-free Chennai was exposed as police were forced to divert traffic near Gui­ndy owing to flooding just below the Kathipara grade separator.    
 
“It’s a summer rain and this is the situation. I hope the corporation purchases a few boats when the monsoon strikes,” said M. Patel, a resident of Madippakkam.  
 
People were forced to take perilous steps across the streets unaware of the open manholes and shallow spots, concealed by stagnant water not pumped out in several areas. “Ban on plastics is the need of the hour and and such a move will reduce waterlogging,” opined former Oppo­sition floor leader of corporation Saidai P. Ravi.
 
A corporation official said the stormwater drain works were progressing and officials would review them. He pointed out that tenders cancelled recently due to the slow pace of work would be floated again.
 
 
Rainwater seeps into departure hall at airport’s new terminal
 
Further compounding the water leaking problem at the newly commissioned domestic terminal in Chennai airport, the passengers on Thursday were confronted with rainwater seeping inside the departure hall near the security check area as heavy rains lashed the city
 
“The terminal was looking very good. When I arrived on Wednesday night, I liked it so much. But today, on my way back, I am upset seeing these water soaked carpets and water leaking,” said M. Periannan from Ramanat­hapuram who was waiting inside the airport to catch a flight to Madurai.
 
A senior airport official said that there was no leakage but then water was coming inside the premises due to overflow from the gutter. “There could be some garbage in the roof. We are in the process of cleaning the place,” he added. Due to rain, a SriLankan Airlines flight carrying 147 passengers scheduled to land at Chennai at 2.35 pm was diverted to Bengaluru.
 
Similarly, an Oman Air flight carrying 249 passengers from Muscat scheduled to reach the city at 3 pm was also diverted to Bengaluru. 
 
“Both the flights reached Chennai from Bengaluru by 6 pm,” said airport sources. Three domestic airline flights, one each from Port Blair, Delhi and Tiruchy were forced to hover around the city airport for nearly 40 minutes to one hour before they were allowed to land. 
 

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