Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi inaugurated India's largest desalination plant in Chennai on Saturday. The facility will draw water from the Bay of Bengal, process it using the reverse osmosis technology and supply purified water to the city.
The Rs 600-crore plant at Minjur, around 35 km north of here, is the state's first seawater desalination plant.
Spread across 60 acres, the plant can process and supply 100 million litres of water per day, an amount that could cater to the needs of around 2 million people. Chennai has a population of nearly 4.5 million.
A joint venture between IVRCL Infrastructures and Project Ltd and Befessa of Spain, 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 litres for the first 25 years.
The competitive pricing is because the facility adopts an energy-conserving desalination process, CMWSSB officials said. 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.