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To quench Chennai’s thirst, three small desal plants to come up in city

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on June 19, 2019 Published on June 19, 2019

With the city facing one of the worst water crises in recent years, the Tamil Nadu government plans to construct small Sea Water Reverse Osmosis (SWSO) desalination plants to mitigate the drought situation. The plants of 10 million litres per day (MLD) each are being planned at Triplicane, MRC Nagar, and Kasimedu.

Industry sources said that to construct a 10 MLD desalination plant in the city, it would cost around ₹140 crore. The three plants will cost over ₹420 crore.

The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board, in a Request for Interest, has asked companies to conduct pre-feasibility studies, and draw up Detailed Project Reports for the construction and commissioning of the desalination plants. The project includes erection of intake and outfall arrangements and integration with existing water supply network, operation and maintenance of the plants for five years.

Chennai’s total water requirement is 830 MLD. Chennai Metrowater currently supplies about 525 MLD through various sources such as groundwater, reservoirs and desalination plants. This leaves a deficit of around 300 MLD.

Water supply to South Chennai is met from Veeranam lake and Nemmeli Seawater Desalination Plant, said a senior Chennai Metrowater official. Chennai Metrowater had set up a 100 MLD capacity seawater desalination plant at Nemmeli in 2013.

Last week, Tamil Nadu sought a financial support of ₹5,398 crore from the Centre for combined water supply projects across the State. The projects include desalination plant and connected pipeline works with a designed capacity of 100 MLD to Villupuram and Tindivanam municipalities; Marakkanam and Vikkaravandi town panchayats, and 1,601 rural habitations in ten panchayat unions of Villupuram district. The total project cost is around ₹2,000 crore and expected to benefit 16.78 lakh people.

For the Chennai Metropolitan area, two major desalination projects at an estimated cost of ₹7,337.78 crore to supply 550 MLD of water have been taken up and both these projects are expected to be completed by December 2022, says a memorandum presented by SP Velumani, State Minister for Municipal Administration, Rural Development and Implementation of Special Programme, to Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister for Jal Shakti, seeking financial assistance.

Published on June 19, 2019
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