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TN: Metrowater considers bulk purchase to enhance supply

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CHENNAI, April 19

THE Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Metrowater) will look into the option of bulk water purchase as part of a long-term plan for water supply to the city.

According to the policy note on administration of urban local bodies tabled in the Assembly earlier this week, Metrowater will look into this option irrespective of the technology used. It will enter into a series of water-purchase agreements that will make the organisation technology-neutral while going in for these projects.

It aims to provide water and sewerage connections over the next five years in a phased manner. It has been projected that by 2025, the likely water requirement for the Chennai Metropolitan Area would be around 20-30 tmc.

Metrowater plans to make available this quantity through a combination of schemes, to ensure a minimum safety net at any given time. The schemes include a focussed, yearly water management plan, transportation of 180 million litres per day from the Veeranam Lake under the Chennai Water Supply Augmentation Project - I, a tertiary treated reverse osmosis plant to supply water to the industrial belt, development of the Araniar-Kortaliar basin aquifer for which consultancy is in the process of being awarded, renovation of tanks and lakes around the city, and a battery of reverse osmosis plants.

The Rs 26.54-crore consultancy work taken up under the twinning consultancy arrangement between Metrowater and Generale Des Eaux, France, will be completed in March 2004.

According to the policy note, the agreement was in line with the recommendations of the World Bank, which had suggested the move to improve the performance and operational efficiency of Metrowater.

Proposals have been formulated for the refurbishment of the Kilpauk Water Treatment Plant and these are to be taken up in 2002-03.

Information systems and technology planning will also be taken up as a pilot project to improve Metrowater's functioning in billing and collection, financial accounting and consumer service monitoring.

Meanwhile, the second Chennai project taken up in 1996 at a cost of Rs 778.79 crore is in an advanced stage of implementation and the connected works are to be completed by June 2002. To ensure the equitable distribution of water in Chennai, six of the seven new water distribution stations planned have been completed.

Also on the anvil are 10 reverse osmosis plants, each with a capacity of at least 100 million litres per day, to be set up on build-own-operate-and-transfer basis. These desalination plants are to be located at Alandur, Pallavaram, Tambaram, Ambattur, Avadi and Madhavaram. Chennai has five reverse osmosis plants, which augment the water supply to specific areas.

A 50 million litre per day tertiary treated reverse osmosis plant will be set up at Kodungaiyur to treat secondary treated sewage at the existing plant. This will be supplied to the industrial units in the Manali area in North Chennai. The proposed budget estimate for 2002-03 for the project is Rs 80 crore and the project is expected to be completed in 24 months.

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