Officials from PWD told TNM that three to four days of rains can only increase about one or two feet of water in the reservoirs.

Even after rains four major reservoirs in Chennai continue to have low water levels (Image for representation)
news Water crisis Friday, July 14, 2017 - 08:32
Written by  Pheba Mathew

Chennai has been experiencing rains for the last few days but that does not seem to have had much impact on the reservoirs that provide water to the city. The Public Works Department (PWD) claims that the water levels of three reservoirs are very low and one reservoir has dead storage even after the rains.

Officials from the PWD told The News Minute that three to four days of rains can only increase about one or two feet of water in the reservoirs.

"Chembarambakkam lake, one of the key reservoirs for the city, has about 186 mcft water. The actual storage capacity of the reservoir is 3,645 mcft. The total depth of the reservoir is 24 feet but currently, it has a depth of 3 feet," said an official.

The rains in the city have increased the depth of the Chembarambakkam water by 0.6 feet, said an official. "Before the rains, the depth was about 2.4 feet and after the rain, it is 3 feet,” said the PWD official.

Currently, the Chennai Corporation has been drawing water for the city from Red Hills reservoir and a quarry near Chembarambakkam lake. "Though Red Hills reservoir has dead storage, the PWD has been drawing about 21 cusecs from the reservoir," said an official.

The total capacity of the Red Hills reservoir is 3,300 mcft and total depth in the reservoir is 21.2 feet. The PWD department claims that the current water level is below sea level.

The Poondi reservoir has a water limit of 21 mcft and a depth of 13.60 feet. "The water level has increased by 3 mcft due to the rains. The actual total storage limit is 3,231 mcft and the total depth of the reservoir is 35 feet," said another official from the PWD department.

But the Cholavaram reservoir is in a dry condition, added the official. The total depth of the reservoir is 18.86 feet and the total capacity of the reservoir is 1,081 mcft.

Some reports state that following the rain, the four reservoirs together gained by 25 mcft.

These reservoirs together provide about 65% of the drinking water for Chennai. The Chembarambakkam lake has been present since the Pallava period and the Red Hills and Cholavaram were made in 1867-1877 and the Poondi reservoir came into existence around 1944, states a report.

However, the officials stated that the state government will be seeking release of Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh. A report states that this year the water release from Andhra Pradesh got delayed due to the pending payment by Tamil Nadu towards the construction and maintenance of the project. Chennai is supposed to get a total of 12,000 mcft every year from Andhra Pradesh out of which, 8,000 mcft is provided between July and October.