Madurai Corporation meets its water demand through surface and subsurface sources through water supply schemes on the Vaigai River. First protected water supply was provided to Madurai City in the year 1892 through head works at Arappalayam in the river vaigai. The water abstracted from the Vaigai River through infiltration galleries was pumped directly into the distribution system. In 1924 another head works was installed at Kochadai in the river vaigai. The above two head works were balanced as the sand bed over the infiltration galleries were fund thoroughly washed off.
Considering the increasing population and additional demand, head works were installed early in the 1970’s at Melakkal, Thatachampathu and Kochadai Collector well on the Vaigai river bed and they are utilized to convey water through pumping to the north zone (i.e., North of River Vaigai) during mansoon season and when there is sufficient flow in the river. Head works at Mannalur and Thiruppuvanam down stream of Madurai City were utilized to pump water to the South Zone (i.e., South of River Vaigai) and are partly functioned depending upon the availability at source. Pursuant to the design and implementation of the world bank vaigai water supply scheme potable water is now being supplied to the South Zone of Madurai.
The present available source of water supply and their present supply for Madurai Corporation are listed below:
i) Scheme I (23.00 MLD):
Partial yield from September to February through the existing collector well / infiltration galleries installed on Vaigai River at Melakkal, Thatchampathu and Kochadai for supply to North Zone. Design capacity of the aforementioned headworks is 52 MLD. However only 23.00 MLD fo Water is realized from the river bed and this amount is highly dependent on rain fall and release of water through the Vaigai River from the Vaigai Dam.
ii) Scheme II (2.00 MLD):
Partial yield (mansoon season) from headworks installed at Manaloor and Thirupuvanam on the Vaigai river bed for supply to South Zone.
iii) Vaigai Water Supply Scheme (68.00 MLD) :
Year round available source conveyed to South Zone through 1100 mm dia PSC transmission main from the Vaigai Reservoir under the world bank project implemented in 1993. Besides the above there are 1825 Nos. of Borewells are being drilled and mini power pump scheme with HDPF Tank with point distribution or by laying distribution line in the nearby streets with 6 to 8 public fountains a quantity of 54.70 MLD of water is being supplied.
iv) Service Reservoirs :
There are 23 over head reservoirs of 34.85 MLD capacity and one Ground level Service Reservoir of 6.80 MLD Capacity available in the City.
v) Distribution System :
The town is divided into 12 Water supply distribution Zones. A total length of 467.00 Kms of distribution system has been laid out of total road length of 615.00 Kms. In addition to this 0.36 MLD is supplied to areas uncovered by water lorries.
vi) Service Connection :
The Corporation has provided 96,048 Water Supply Connections of which 91620 are Domestic Connections, 4067 are Commercial Connections and 361 are Industrial Connections.
For Madurai Corporation Water Supply, an annual quantum of 1500 mcft. of surface water has been allotted and to be drawn from Vaigai Dam. Out of 1500 mcft. 900 mcft. of water is presently drawn directly from Vaigai Dam and conveyed through raw water main of 1100 PSC pipe, treated at water treatment plant at Pannaipatty and the clear water conveyed through clear water transmission main of 1100 mm PSC pipe and distributed through distribution network of South Zone. The balance quantity of 600 mcft./year from Vaigai Dam for river bed wetting purpose, is drawn through a system of collector well, infiltrations walls and infiltrations galleries at Thatchampathu, Melakkal and Kochadai. Water abstracted from these headworks is pumped to the Ground level service reservoir at Arasaradi. From the GLSR the water is then pumped through two feeders main to North Zone of Madurai.