India expedites desalination project in Chennai

The Tamil Nadu government will expedite a desalination project to tackle water shortage in Chennai, the Chief Minister Ms. Jayalalithaa, said during the official assembly in Chennai on 3 November.

The Tamil Nadu government will expedite a desalination project to tackle water shortage in Chennai, the Chief Minister Ms. Jayalalithaa, said during the official assembly in Chennai on 3 November.

She reported that 10 companies responded to a global tender called to set up a desalination project. This was a re-tender called after the earlier tender, to which two companies had responded, had been cancelled due to procedural lapses.

The government favoured implementing the project as fast as possible, she said, because within the past three years insufficient rains in catchment areas and low supplies from neighbouring states reduced substantially available city water supplies.

The project is a part of a shift in water management strategies that included rainwater harvest and recycling wastewater in addition to increasing efficiency of traditional sources — groundwater and surface water.

Surface water availability was limited to the four reservoirs at Poondi, Sholavaram, Red Hills and Chembar-ambakkam, and groundwater from the wellfields to south and north of the city. Together, these contributed about 180 million litres daily. Chennai requires about 875 million litres a day for domestic and industrial use.

The government announced that Metrowater would facilitate a 300-million litre a day desalination facility at an estimated cost of US$ 331 million to be set up on build-own-operate-transfer basis. Also proposed were a 50-million litre recycled water plant for supply to industries and a scheme to draw water from the Kolavoy lake.

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