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Water authority to increase capacity of Aruvikkara dam

Thiruvananthapuram: The city residents are yet to forget the water scarcity they faced last summer. The Kerala water authority had to bring water from Neyyar dam to Aruvikkara through a canal to quench the thirst of the city.
Though the city received abundant rain in the south west and north east monsoon seasons, KWA was unable to initiate adequate steps to store more water.Now, the KWA has initiated steps to conduct a pilot study to improve the capacity of Aruvikkara dam.

Initially, there was only a check dam at Aruvikkara at the time of commissioning of Willingdon water works in 1933. The capacity was augmented by increasing the height of the dam in 1962. Current capacity of dam is 2 million metre cube, which means it could store water for only six days. The KWA has to open shutters whenever there is rain.Over a decade, the deposited silt and clay has reduced the capacity of the dam to 40%. There has been huge demand for desiltation for the past several years. KWA’s attempts to do desiltation did not take off due to lack of funds.Recently, KWA approached the state government with a proposal to conduct pilot study at Mullinavinmoodu side pocket of the reservoir.The state government has given in principle sanction to KWA managing director A Shainamol to go ahead with the execution of the pilot project for the work titled ‘Source improvement project for the water supply scheme for Thiruvananthapuram’. It has also given sanction for a technical committee to review the work. The committee will have non-KWA members such as director of mining and geology and chief hydrographer as members.KWA is in the process of preparing a detailed report, which will include details of which equipment to be used, how to segregate silt and clay etc. KWA will conduct a detailed study on process and equipment to be used before moving to get technical sanction.

An official of the KWA said that it will be a pilot study to understand the process of desiltation and the challenges involved. “In the selected portion, the amount of silt is estimated to be around 1 lakh metre cube. By removing silt in the portion, it will be able to hold water needed for half a day. As per the pre-feasibility study, around Rs 4 crore is expected for the project,” said the official.

 The KWA has sent samples of sand to Kerala Highway Research Institute to study about so that it would be properly utilized for required purposes. The KWA is also in touch with Indian Rare Earths Limited on the equipment needed to segregate sand and clay.

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