The first 50-wagon train carrying 2.5 million litres water from Jolarpet railway station in Vellore district left for the parched city of Chennai early Friday morning. A second train is also scheduled to carry the same amount of water today to the capital city.
A railway official said, ‘Based on slots available for movement of these trains the capacity could go up.’
The state government has set a target of nearly 10 million litres of water to be transported to Chennai every day.
According to reports, the Southern Railways will charge Rs 7.5 lakh for every trip taken, for which the Tamil Nadu government has set aside Rs 65 crore.
Sources suggest that the train journey would be of nearly five hours. The train will stop at Villivakkam and from there the water will be pumped to the Kilpauk Water Works- the station that supplies water to households.
In addition, as many as 900 water tankers have been deployed to drive and supply water to residents every day.
With such efforts on, the state government is trying to meet the water scarcity problem midway since transporting water to the city will only meet the basic demands of the people.
The state government has to ensure a minimum of 525 million litres a day to the residents with a demand of 830 million litres a day.
Chennai’s acute water crisis pertains to the reservoirs — Cholavaram (full capacity 1,081 mcft) and Redhills (3,300 mcft) — running dry this season, while the storage at Poondi reservoir is 24 mcft as against the full capacity of 3,231 mcft, according to the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Chennai Metro).
The Chembarambakkam lake (full capacity 3,645 mcft) has a water level of a mere 1 mcft.
Owing to desperate times, the Chennai Metro Water cut piped water supply by 40 per cent in the city, due to which several parts of the city now do not get piped water at all.