CHENNAI: With Chennai facing an acute water shortage, Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam on Saturday sought the intervention of his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu to ensure the immediate release of `agreed’ quantum of water from the state’s Kandaleru reservoir to Tamil Nadu.
“I am given to understand that as on Thursday, the water level at Kandaleru reservoir was 13.5tmcft (thousand million cubic feet). Therefore, AP appears to be in a position to release water for Chennai city,” Panneerselvam said in his letter to Naidu, a copy of which was released to the media here. Emphasising on the deficit faced by Tamil Nadu as a whole and Chennai in particular, the CM stated that northeast monsoon, through which the state receives a bulk of its rainfall, was deficient by at least 57% this season, leading to a steep fall in the city’s drinking water reserves. “The meager storage currently available needs to be augmented to meet the drinking water supply requirements of Chennai city over the next few months,” he said.
Pointing out to the 1983 interstate agreement between the two states, which promises a quantum of 12tmcft of water to be released at the Tamil Nadu border in two spells from the Kandaleru reservoir, the Tamil Nadu chief minister said that only 0.99tmcft has been realised at the TN border between October and December last year. The agreement mandates a supply of 8 tmcft of water from July to October and 4tmcft from January to April to the state.
While the city water managers rely on Veeranam lake, desalination plants at Nemmili and Minjur, and farm wells, the city reservoirs address the bulk of the daily water need of the residents. Krishna water supply which began on October 18 was suspended twice by the AP government, owing to illegal tapping of water along the canal that takes water to Poondi reservoir in Tiruvallur district. The government is hoping to get at least three tmcft of Krishna water to manage the crisis.