Fluoride Action Network

Hogenakkal project to treat high fluoride groundwater

Source: The Hindu | November 13th, 2007 | By T. Ramakrishnan
Location: India

CHENNAI: Global tenders are likely to be floated in a couple of months for the Rs.1,334-crore Hogenakkal water supply project, which will benefit the drought-hit Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts.

Eighty-five per cent of the project cost will be funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. After the Japanese Prime Minister’s approval, expected by January, the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board will invite tenders, says a Board official.

Last month, the Bank’s appraisal mission visited the State and held discussions with officials. It also discussed with the stakeholders such as panchayat presidents and school headmasters the fluorosis mitigation component of the project.

Fluoride content high

The two districts have also been affected by poor water quality: fluoride content is high in the groundwater. The people here suffer from skeletal fluorosis, dental fluorosis and non-skeletal manifestation caused by the consumption of fluoride-contaminated water over a prolonged period.

The project, which will supply 128 million litres a day (MLD) in the intermediate stage (2021) and 160 MLD in the final stage (2036), will benefit 30 lakh people now and 40.4 lakh eventually. It will cover three municipalities, 17 town panchayats and 6,755 rural habitations.

The official says approvals such as forest and environmental clearances have been obtained. No land acquisition is involved.

As water has to be pumped for 145 km to cover areas such as Palacode, Marandahalli and Hosur, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board has promised to provide uninterrupted supply of 30 megawatt.

Water will be drawn from the Cauvery at Hogenakkal and supplied after treatment. The official says the bank will lend the sum at an interest of 1.25 per cent. With a five-year moratorium, the tenure of the loan will be 30 years.

The officials plan to conduct awareness campaigns among school students on water quality.

The TWAD Board has already conducted a training programme for panchayat leaders.