Tamil Nadu has sought Rs. 5,398-crore assistance from the Centre for water supply projects across the State, in the backdrop of severe water shortage, especially in Chennai.
SP Velumani, State Minister for Municipal Administration, Rural Development and Implementation of Special Programme, presented a memorandum recently to Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister for Jal Shakti, seeking financial assistance.
The projects include desalination plant and connected pipeline works with a designed capacity of 100 million litres per day (MLD) to Villupuram and Thindivanam municipality; Marakkanam and Vikkaravandi town panchayats and 1,601 rural habitations in 10 panchayat unions of Villupuram district. The total project cost is around Rs. 2,000 crore and it is expected to benefit 16.78 lakh people.
A combined water supply scheme (CWSS) is also envisaged for eight town panchayats and 2,452 rural habitations in Sivagangai district with Cauvery river as source and is expected to benefit nearly 10.77 lakh people. The expected drawal of water is 78.40 MLD and the project cost will be around Rs. 1,800 crore. Revamping and rejuvenation of outlived 155 CWSS to improve the performance and supply efficiency costing Rs. 1,000 crore is also planned.
At present, there are about 600 major water supply schemes being maintained by Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board, Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board and other local bodies. Many of the water supply schemes are dependent on surface water -- dams, rivers and streams. Apart from this, rural water supply schemes are provided with underground deep borewells.
“I request the minister to support Tamil Nadu in a large scale to take up various water supply projects,” Velumani urged Shekhawat.
In 2016, the State faced an unprecedented drought situation. Subsequently, in 2017, the State had received deficit rainfall and in 2018 there was a 24 per cent deficit in rainfall. Highlighting the drought situation in the State, the memorandum said the State Government had notified and declared 17 districts and 38 blocks in seven districts having deficit annual rainfall and facing severe drought conditions. Following failure of monsoon, the local bodies are facing challenges in supplying drinking water due to depletion of water table and drying up of water sources.
Drought relief works like sinking of new borewells, desilting of open wells, rejuvenation of water supply schemes, water supply through tanker lorries are being taken with available resources. Also, abandoned quarries have been utilised to draw and supply water to the public after testing and treating the water.
For Chennai Metropolitan area, two major desalination projects at an estimated cost of Rs. 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, the memorandum said.
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