The country’s largest water desalination plant got rolling on Saturday, when Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi inaugurated the Rs 600-crore facility located at Minjur, around 35 km from here.
The plant, developed through a joint venture between IVRCL Infrastructures and Projects Ltd and Befessa of Spain, will draw water from the Bay of Bengal, process it using reverse osmosis technology and supply purified water to the city's water utility.
Spread across 60 acres, the plant can process and supply 100 million litre of water per day, an amount that could meet the needs of around 2 million people. Chennai has a population of nearly 4.5 million.
The facility will supply water to the government-run Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board at a cost of Rs 48.74 per 1,000 litre for the first 25 years.
Another desalination plant with similar capacity is expected to come up in the state by 2012.
Chennai has been suffering from water shortage for decades. The requirement for the city and the adjacent areas is around 1,470 mld, which includes commercial and industrial demand. But the city gets a daily supply of only 600 mld from sources such as lakes and reservoirs, which are dependent on the erratic monsoon.