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Tapping water from Veeranam lake begins

By K. Lakshmi

CHENNAI, OCT. 6. Chennai Metrowater has started tapping water from the Veeranam lake, in addition to the Neyveli aquifer, to augment supply to the city. It will gradually reduce the offtake from both Neyveli and the wellfields on the fringes of Chennai, depending on the level in the Veeranam lake.

Chennai is now receiving about 90 million litres a day (mld) drawn from the lake and borewells sunk in the Neyveli aquifer, through pipelines laid under the New Veeranam Project. With the present storage in the lake at 1,065 million cubic feet (mcft), as against the total capacity of 1,485 mcft, the drawal has been increased to about 50 mld.

Water from the lake at Sethiathope in Cuddalore district, which travels about 230 km to reach the Porur Lake, is being supplied through tankers, says a Metrowater official.

Domestic supply

To resume pipeline domestic supply, a minimum of 250 mld will have to be pumped into the system, he says. At present, Metrowater supplies 201 mld to the city, including industries. Out of this, about 150 mld is being distributed through lorries for domestic supply.

The Metrowater official said water had been drawn from Veeranam in a trial operation since September 20. With the increase in the lake level, more water was extracted.

Gradually, the drawal would be stepped up with a simultaneous reduction in the extraction from the wells at and around Neyveli. At present, 45 mld was being drawn from the wells.

Water from Veeranam-Neyveli, after treatment at Vadakuthu, was pumped into the existing system (between Porur and Kilpauk Water Works) through the distribution station at Porur.

Water quality was monitored at every stage, including at the various distribution points of the city, he said.

Depending on the rise in the lake level and water drawal, the supply from Neyveli would be decreased and eventually stopped.

Moreover, the number of lorries ferrying water from private wellfields on the outskirts of the city was reduced following release of water from the Veeranam lake. Water extraction has been reduced to 65 mld from 75 mld brought to the city in 7,500 tanker trips.

A Public Works department official said about 720 cubic feet per second of water was released for irrigation in Cuddalore district on Tuesday. Only surplus water was being diverted to Chennai. About 70 cusecs was released for Metrowater for supply through the Veeranam pipelines.

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