New Year gift for Chennai

Chennai residents may receive Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh soon, after a gap of nearly 10 months. This comes as a New Year gift to the city that is falling short of drinking water sources.

Following a request from Tamil Nadu, the Andhra Pradesh government released Krishna water for the city’s drinking water requirement earlier this week.

On Friday, nearly 2,700 cusecs was released from the Kandaleru reservoir, which has a storage of nearly 18,000 million cubic feet (mcft).

Tamil Nadu goverment officials are expecting that the State would get at least 3 tmcft of Krishna water by summer.

Chennai received a rainfall of 94 cm during Northeast monsoon, which is excess by 19% for the season. However, this has not helped much to boost the storage in city’s reservoirs, which remains at around 44% of the total capacity, overall.

The release of Krishna water is crucial to augment the city water supply. As the reservoirs are half empty, Chennai Metrowater continues to provide water supply on alternate days. “The available water resources, including in Veeranam tank, is nearly 5,900 mcft. We have stepped up the supply from 450 million litres to 650 million litres a day. Once the Poondi reservoir realises Krishna water, we may take a decision on further increasing the water supply,” said an official.

The water released into Kandaleru Poondi canal touched the 120th km point near Ubbalamadugu, Andhra Pradesh on Friday.

Officials of the Water Resources Department said that the water, after travelling a distance of 152 km, is likely to reach zero point on the inter-state border at Uthukottai, Tiruvallur district by Monday. It has to travel another 25 km to reach Poondi reservoir.

About ₹25 crore of the pending payment of Tamil Nadu’s share towards construction and maintenance of the project has been provided to Andhra Pradesh.

“We have asked the AP authorities to step up patrolling to prevent illegal drawal of water from the canal. This time, the seepage loss may be minimal as vulnerable portions of the canal have been repaired,” said an official.

If Poondi reservoir receives 500 cusecs daily, the storage in the reservoir would go up by 1,000 mcft in a month.

Fewer lorry trips

Meanwhile, the number of lorry trips has come down heavily as piped water supply has been increased. Lorry operators noted that the water agency must decrease the number of lorries hired during drought as the demand has dropped. For instance, several lorries parked near Valluvar Kottam only adds to the traffic problem. Water tankers may also be diverted to areas like Sholinganallur that have more demand, they said.

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