With the commissioning of the Kannankottai-Therovy Kandigai reservoir on Saturday, Chennai will get a dedicated reservoir for drinking water supply after a gap of 76 years.
So far, the Satyamurti Sagar at Poondi, built across the Kosasthalaiyar during 1940-44 at a cost of ₹65 lakh, has the distinction of being the only storage point formed for water supply to the city. It was named after Chennai Mayor S. Satyamurti (1939-40) in recognition of his efforts to get the dam project implemented amid the Second World War. On June 14, 1944, the then Governor of Madras Presidency, Arthur Hope, declared open the reservoir.
Located about 50 km from Chennai, the Kannankottai-Thervoy Kandigai reservoir, costing ₹380 crore, will store the Krishna water. This has been made possible through an 8.6-km link canal, which will take off from the Kandaleru-Poondi canal. Around 1,485 acres was acquired for the construction of the reservoir. Through two fillings, the new facility can store 1 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) in a year. It will facilitate the supply of 66 million litres a day (MLD) to the city. The reservoir will also supply water for irrigating 700 acres, according to an official release.
The reservoir will be the fifth storage point for Chennai after the Satyamurti Sagar at Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarampakkam. Though the Veeranam tank in Cuddalore district also feeds to the city supply by way of 180 MLD for a considerable part of the year, it is an irrigation reservoir.
The combined capacity of the four reservoirs is 11.25 tmc ft. With the latest one, it will go up to 11.75 tmc ft. If all the five reservoirs are full on New Year Day (January 1), they can take care of the city’s water needs comfortably, as Chennai requires 1 tmc ft of water a month. The balance can easily be provided by Veeranam and two desalination plants of 100 MLD each, apart from groundwater sources.
On Thursday morning, the four reservoirs had a storage of 7.097 tmc ft and Kannankottai-Therovy Kandigai had 138 million cubic feet (mcft). The State has received around 3 tmc ft of Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh so far this year.
N. Meenakshisundaram, a water activist-engineer, has welcomed the commissioning of the new reservoir. He wants the government to make yet another attempt at building two more reservoirs at Ramancheri and Thirukkandalam, which were mooted in 1983 at the time of the inauguration of work on the Krishna Water Supply Project.