India – 650km water pipes changed, twice as much still to go – Thermal power cluster poses water crisis for Vidarbha

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Article courtesy of Pratiksha Ramkumar & D Madhavan | August 7, 2012 | TNN | Shared as educational material only

CHENNAI: Finally, waking up to the threat of water contamination in the city, Metrowater has started replacing pipelines. More than 2,300km of pipelines that criss-cross the city were laid in the mid 1960s. Now, many of them may have corroded, leading to seepage of sewage and other impurities into the pipes.Public health experts say this is a crucial step in preventing waterborne diseases. Metrowater has got Rs60 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) to replace all the drinking and sewerage water pipelines within the older city limit.

The department had identified’more than 2,000km of pipelines along 15,000 roads. About 650km of pipelines running under areas such as Guindy, Virugambakkam, T Nagar, Saidapet, Choolai, Royapuram, KK Nagar and Villivakkam have been replaced with new ductile iron and mild steel pipes. “Most of the pipelines in the old areas were of cast iron, which rust over time. We will replace the old pipes by December-end,” said a Metrowater official.

The organization has been facing problems clearing sewerage and supplying drinking water. The city has around five lakh water connections.

Leaky pipelines are the main cause of water contamination. “Only if there are leaks do sewage water seep in. The liquid also overflows on the road only when the links are weak, and not able to withstand pressure,” said former assistant city health officer Dr Damodaran Reddy.

Sewage gets mixed with the drinking water, when residents try to draw water after the supply or pumping hours. Since there is no water in the pipe, air pressure starts sucking in liquid from the surroundings through the holes on the pipe. This is what had happened in the Osankulam slum board tenements in Chetpet, Kodungaiyur and Kolathur where the residents were taken ill two weeks back.

Health officers say water contamination happens frequently during monsoon, which is why Metrowater increases the chlorine content in water by five times. Experts also feel that having a common enclosures for garbage collection in neighbourhoods could have also aggravated the problem.

Thermal power cluster poses water crisis for Vidarbha: Greenpeace.

Article courtesy of Indiatimes.com | August 7, 2012 | Shared as educational material only
NEW DELHI: The drought-prone Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is heading towards another form of water crisis due to a proposed cluster of thermal power plant in the region, according to an environmental organisation’s report.Releasing the report based on an IIT-Delhi’s study of the Wardha river basin in Vidarbha for assessing impact of coal- based power plants, leading environmental NGO Greenpeace today claimed the future water availability in the river may come down by 40 per cent.

“It is not clear on what basis Maharashtra government took the decision to divert more than 390 million cubic metre (MCM) of water from Vidarbha’s reservoir between 2003 and 2011. This diversion of water goes against the present state water policy to prioritise irrigation needs over industry,” Greenpeace campaigner Jai Krishna said.

The Vidarbha Statutory Development Board plans to allow 250 MCM water required to operate the 71 coal power plants that will produce 55,000 MW of power in the region, Krishna said.

“Considering that both state and central governments know about the huge water needs of the proposed power plants, it appears like a cruel joke to offer debt relief funds to irrigation programs when there may be no water to provide assured irrigation in the future,” he added.

The Greenpeace report also claims lack of planning on the part of the power plants which too will soon suffer due to shortage of water in the area.

“Considering that water requirement for power plants is about 550 MCM and if all the power plants are commissioned, then there may be no water available to operate them, forcing them to shutdown and risk power production,” the report said.

The report said that till 2011, the central government had accorded environmental clearance for almost 200 GW of thermal power plants and about 500 GW of clearance are in the pipeline.

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