Chennai, which has suffered one of the most severe water crises in several decades, will finally sigh with relief as a special 50 wagon train carrying water from Tamil Nadu’s Jolarpettai in Vellore and reached the state capital on Friday.
The water train carries 25 lakh litres of water, with each wagon carrying 50,000 litres, according to a Southern Railway official. The state government has said there will be four rounds of such trains to ensure at least 11 million litres of water every day
The train left Jolarpettai station at around 7 in the morning and reached Villivakkam station at around 11.30 am after travelling a distance of 217 km. The wagons will be emptied and the water will be sent to the Kilpauk pumping station, which is 3 km from the station, through a conduit line for further distribution after initial treatment.
Although the water train was supposed to reach on Thursday, leakages in the valves led to the delay.
Each water train will supply 2.5 million litres of water a day. The state government said there will be four trips made by trains to transport water to the city to ensure at least 11 million litres of water every day.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami had announced the state government’s plans to transport 10 million litres of water daily by rail from Jolarpettai.
He said a sum of Rs 65 crore had been allocated for this purpose.
At present, the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Chennai Metro Water) is supplying about 525 million litres per day (MLD) in the state capital. The water from Jolarpettai will now add to the existing supply.
Meanwhile, the Cholavaram and Redhills reservoirs and Chembarambakkam lake that supply water to Chennai have run dry with only 16 mcft water left in the Poondi reservoir, according to the Chennai Metro Water.
Chennai has been reeling under the extreme water crisis over the past four months. The southern metropolis is facing a daily water deficit of at least 200 million litres, which had recently led to some schools being shut, employees being asked to work from home and hotels rationing their water supply for the guests.
The Tamil Nadu government had earlier requested the railways to help them ferry the water to the capital, following which the water train was brought in.