In the next three or four years, some “pooled areas” in the northern and southern parts of the city may be covered by an underground drainage network. Chennai Metrowater is expected to start working in the eight added areas in a few months.
These projects worth ₹ 1,463.14 crore were recently approved for funding under the Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Transformation 2.0 (AMRUT 2.0). The flagship program of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs would partially fund the schemes.
The long-running schemes would clean the sewage generated by the existing population of nearly 4.92 lakh in Semmenchery, Puzhal, Mathur, Vadaperumbakkam, Theeyambakkam, Edayanchavaadi, Sadayankuppam, Kadapakkam and abandoned areas in Madhavaram.
Metrowater officials said the underground drainage network in these areas covers 40 square kilometers. was designed for the projected population and sewage production of 2055. The water agency would create the infrastructure to treat the nearly 99 million liters per day (mld) of sewage expected to be generated over the next three decades.
For example, sewage flow in Semmenchery is expected to increase from 6.14 mld in 2025 to 14.95 mld in 2055. Similarly, sewage generation in Puzhal would increase from 6.35 mld in 2025 to 19 mld in three decades. The collection network would be connected to treatment plants at Kodungaiyur and Sholinganallur.
Residents have welcomed the move, saying it can greatly reduce the pollution of waterways in their areas. Satish Galley, a resident of Semmenchery, said it was a long-standing demand in the area. Many residents spend at least ₹2,000 per month to treat sewage through tankers that are dumped at Metrowater’s discharge points. Some of them illegally dump sewage into the Buckingham Canal.
Officials said that the state government will also fund a share of the cost of the project, while the water agency will have to cover a portion. The water agency applied for financial assistance from KfW, the German state development bank.
“Once the funds are approved, we will start the work in five, six months. The work will be completed in two to three years,” said the official. In addition, the funds would be used to strengthen the existing network in Alandur and improve the old sewage system in Thousand Lights.