Foundation stone laid for third desalination plant

Foundation stone laid for third desalination plant

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. PTI file photo

Six years after the project was first announced, the foundation stone for constructing a Rs 1,259 crore desalination plant to meet the water needs of Tamil Nadu's capital city was laid on Thursday. The desalination plant, which is expected to be operational by 2021, will be the third such project that is aimed at addressing the water needs of the city.

The foundation stone ceremony was held in the midst of worst-ever water crisis in the city, that has forced the government to bring water from other districts to quench the thirst of people in the city. The desalination plant in Nemmeli in neighbouring Kancheepuram district was announced in 2013 by the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, but nothing moved in the past six years.

The plant, which would generate 150 million litres a day, will be constructed in two years’ time even as Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said on Thursday that the government was expediting works on setting up a 400 mld desalination plant at Perur in Kancheepuram district.

The latest plant at Nemmeli will be the third desalination plant aimed at providing water to the parched city. Of the plan estimate of Rs 1,259.38 crore, Rs 700 crore will be obtained as a loan from German firm Kfw, while the rest will be a subsidy under Centre's Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme, an official release said.

The water from the new plant will benefit residents of parts of southern Chennai like Alandur, St Thomas Mount and Sholinganallur, besides those on the IT Corridor. After the ceremony, the Chief Minister said recycling systems in industries and large multi-storeyed buildings were key for plan approval hereafter in the city.

"Whether new industries or big multi-storeyed buildings - (plan) approval will be granted only if they have recycling centres. This will result in saving of water by 50%," he said.

In the past few weeks, Chennai had experienced its worst-ever water crisis, with all four major lakes that supply drinking water to the city drying up completely. Several areas ran out of water, forcing people to wait for days to receive water, as ground water levels depleted to a new low.