The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board or Metrowater has started clearing encroachments on British-era conduit lines, which carry water from the Red Hills reservoir to Kilpauk Water Treatment Plant.
The water agency has identified nearly 1,300 encroachments from Rajamangalam to Kilpauk water works. It carried out an analysis using differential global positioning system (DGPS) and drone survey in the stretch to identify the changes in land use and the extent of encroachments of the boundary.
The three conduit lines, the oldest of which was built with brick masonry in 1914, are under constant threat of encroachments. The third dilapidated line is now being reconstructed. The lines, running for a distance of 10 km-12 km, carry nearly 224 million litres of raw water a day drawn from the Red Hills reservoir.
While these lines run underground, at a depth of around 2 m, the land they pass through, spread over nearly 165 acres, faces the risk of being encroached upon owing to rapid urbanisation. The conduit lines go through Surapet, Korattur, Villivakkam, New Avadi Road, among others.
Metrowater officials said the land was transferred to the water agency in 1978. The vacant land is essential for the construction of additional conduit lines, considered to be the backbone of the city’s water distribution network, to meet growing drinking water demands in the coming years.
To protect the lands, Metrowater has started earmarking boundaries of the three conduits and clearing encroachments in phases. Conduit line-I’s alignment has been demarcated for 536 m, after 10 encroachments were removed in Surapet. Demarcation of boundaries of the two other lines in Surapet will also be carried out.
Metrowater is in the process of evicting commercial encroachments along with the Special Tahsildar, Madhavaram taluk, and fencing off the portions of lands retrieved. It had recently cleared 10 encroachments on Water Canal Road in Korattur and in Thathankuppam. It is also involved in fencing off portions of land and building compound walls in Surapet and Puthagaram.
Notices have been issued to 12 more commercial structures on R.K. Link Road in Thanthankuppam. Officials noted that several residential colonies have developed and unauthorised temporary roads have formed over conduit lands, particularly on Water Canal Road. Besides dumping of debris, the lands are being used for various infrastructure works.
Source& image courtesy: https://www.thehindu.com