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Plan to tone up storage in Chennai reservoirs

The Hindu,Chennai, 4th September, 2014


Damaged shutters in the Poondi reservoir will be repaired under a project to be implemented soon. Photo: K. Pichumani Authorities are putting together a plan to substantially improve the storage of the four reservoirs that cater to the city’s water requirements. They are drawing up a project that would help save anything from 40 million to 50 million litres per day by reducing losses due to evaporation and seepage. The city is currently being supplied 600 million litres of water a day. Conservative estimates peg the losses due to evaporation and seepage at 80 million to 100 million litres a day. The age-old reservoirs in Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam and the one in Poondi, built in 1944, have had regular maintenance, and portions of them have been improved. But, they have been awaiting a major overhaul for some time now.


The Water Resources Department (WRD) has recently initiated a hydrological study of the reservoirs to improve them under the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project. As part of this, data such as rainfall for the past three decades, inflow and discharge would be analysed to assess the works to be taken up. Officials of the WRD said the reservoirs lose between three to five million cubic feet (mcft) of water daily owing to evaporation and seepage. This is equal to 80-100 million litres. Besides strengthening of the bund, the floodgates will be repaired in the reservoirs to reduce leakage, particularly when the water level is high.


The work will be taken up with the World Bank funds in four or five months, the official added. The department is simultaneously preparing estimates for repairing the 25-km-long Kandaleru Poondi canal in Tamil Nadu, which carries Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh. At least 10 per cent of the Krishna water carried to the Poondi reservoir is lost owing to seepage in the canal. This could be reduced once the work is taken up in January next. Chennai has so far received 1,000 mcft of Krishna water in the past one month. This was sufficient to supply water to Chennai for a month and also step up storage in the reservoirs marginally.