In a bid to address Chennai’s acute water shortage, the State government plans to bring 10 million litres of water from Jolarpettai in Vellore district by rail wagons every day, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said.
The State government will spend around ₹65 crore to bring water from Jolarpettai — about 220 km west of the city — to Villivakkam railway station from where water will be distributed across the city, he told newspersons at the Secretariat.
After chairing a review meeting to take stock of the water situation, Palaniswami said that due to deficit rainfall, the four major reservoirs that supply Chennai — Chembarambakkam, Sholavaram, Poondi and Sengundram — are bone dry. At this time last year, there was about 3 TMC of water in these four reservoirs, he said.
The State government is also bringing water to the city from Veeranam lake, which gets Cauvery water from the Mettur dam. The State government will also write to the Kerala government requesting it to supply 2 MLD every day, he said.
To a question, Palaniswami responded that every day 525 MLD of water is being distributed in the city. There are practical difficulties, including limited number of lorries. Also flat owners are flooding Chennai Metrowater with requests for water. “We cannot supply water only to the affluent but also need to take care of poor people. Due to the severe shortage, I urge people to use water sparingly,” he said.
On the Mullaiperiyar dam, Palaniswami urged his Kerala counterpart, Pinarayi Vijayan, to cooperate by storing water to full capacity in the dam. While the Supreme Court has given a judgment to store up to 152 ft after carrying out strengthening works, the Kerala government is not allowing this. Tamil Nadu’s five districts, including Theni, Dindigul and Ramanathapuram, depend on the dam water for their livelihood, he said.
A Tamil Nadu government press release said that this year ₹710 crore was allocated for drinking water supply across the State. At today’s meeting, an additional ₹200 crore was allocated for this purpose.