Cauvery water to ease crisis in Chennai from Friday

Cauvery water loaded to train wagons ready for transportation to Chennai at the Jollarpettai railway station on Thursday. DH photo

This parched metropolis’ quench for water will ease a bit with the plan to transport 11 million litres of nature’s elixir from Jollarpettai in Vellore district through special trains set to take off on Friday.

Two trains carrying 2.7 million litres of water will make four trips a day beginning on Friday for six months to meet the needs of the city, which is reeling under an unprecedented water crisis.

The trial runs to pump the water from Mettu Sakrakuppam near Jollarpettai to the railway station’s filling point on Wednesday and Thursday have been successful and water would be transported to Chennai from Friday morning. A new 3.5-km pipeline was laid to get the water from the pumping station to the railway station.

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had on June 21 announced that the state government would transport 11 MLD water from Vellore district to ward off the water crisis. The state government, which allotted Rs 68 crores for the purpose, has been burning the midnight oil to ensure that the transportation of water from Jollarpettai to Chennai is successful.

Two trains with 50 wagons have been allotted by the Indian Railways for transporting the water and these trains will make four trips a day making the total amount of water to 11 million litres. A senior official with the Vellore district administration told DH that the water from Cauvery river and other sources is collected at a particular spot and brought to the pumping station from where it is pumped to the Jollarpettai station.

“Efforts have been taken to ensure that there is no problem in the transportation of water. Since one train can carry 2.7 million litres, the total amount of water supplied a day from here will be around 11 million litres,” the official said.

Chennai consumes more than 500 million litres of water and the unprecedented water crisis this year has forced the state administration to source it even from sand quarries and private wells in neighbouring districts.

“The trial runs have been conducted and the first train with water will leave Jollarpettai and reach Chennai on Friday morning,” Palaniswami told the Assembly on Thursday. The train would take five hours to reach Villivakkam from Jollarpettai.

A senior official with the Chennai Metro Water told DH that arrangements have been made to pump the water received at Villivakkam railway station in the city to the Kilpauk pumping station where it will be treated before distribution among the people.

“We hope the 11 million litres that we receive from tomorrow will ease the pressure a bit. The situation is much better than what it was in the second and third week of June. However, we are trying our maximum to ward off the crisis,” the official 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 went out of water forcing people to wait for days to receive water as groundwater level depleted to a new low.

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