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Entering 2006, city's reservoirs filled to the brim

T. Ramakrishnan

Combined storage touches 7.11 tmcft



WELCOME SIGHT: The full Red Hills reservoir is a source of comfort for water managers. — File Photo: K. Pichumani

CHENNAI: Chennai never had it so good. The New Year's Day was very special for "normally water-starved" Chennai citizens.

Not only are the Chennai reservoirs full, but also the other water sources — Veeranam tank and dams of the Krishna water supply system.

As on January 1, the combined storage of Red Hills, Cholavaram and Satyamurthi Sagar at Poondi was 7.11 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft).

The previous occasion when the city reservoirs had a combined storage over 7-tmcft on the New Year's Day was in 1997 when the figure was 7.011 tmcft.

Besides, the Chembarampakkam tank, used for supplementing the city supply, was almost full with 2.9 tmcft.

As for Krishna water supply, Andhra Pradesh authorities had, for the first time, stored water to the enhanced levels. The Kandaleru dam, the terminal storage point in Andhra Pradesh, had about 31.6 tmcft, which the dam has never had since the execution of the Krishna project. Similarly, Somasila, about 45 km upstream, had storage of 50.6 tmcft. In the past, the maximum storage figures of the two reservoirs were about 18 and 35 tmcft.

At the Veeranam tank, the present storage was 671 million cubic feet, about 800 mcft short of the capacity.

With the Mettur dam remaining at its full level of 120 ft nearly for three months, sustained supply to the tank is assured.

Northeast monsoon

The main factor for the comfortable water storage was, of course, the bountiful northeast monsoon.

In the last four decades, the last year's average rainfall at the three reservoirs — Red Hills, Cholavaram and Satyamurthi Sagar — was the highest with 160 cm. Till now, the 1997 monsoon held the record with 158 cm.

Besides, 2005 marked another record, marking the maximum annual average rainfall. On an average, the three reservoirs registered 221 cm. In 1997, it was 217 cm and the previous year, 212 cm.

Record rainfall

The year that went by also created other records at the observatory in Nungambakkam, setting aside the record in 1996 with respect to the annual rainfall. The observatory registered 257 cm last year against the previous high of 244 cm. Another record was the rainfall during October-December. The 2005 season saw Nungambakkam receiving 211 cm whereas the observatory registered 157 cm in 1997 and 160 cm in 1884.

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