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Chennai gets its second desalination plant. But, as with all things, it has come at a cost

Just outside Chennai, at Nemmeli, stands a 100-million litre per day desalination plant. Operational last month, the ₹1,033-crore plant has a 65-km long submerged pipeline with disk filters that uses a unique flotation system to sweeten the water. Run by Israeli company Ide Technologies, the plant uses reverse osmosis to supply potable water to south Chennai, covering the suburbs of Akkarai, Thiruvanmiyur, Velachery, the IT corridor and Pallipattu. The water generated is strictly for residential use. This is the second such plant in the city, constructed to break the increasing influence of the water tanker mafia that has for years held Chennai hostage to its escalating prices. But the deal is not as sweet for fishermen along the coast near the plant. The Nemmeli plant, they say, has eroded the shoreline, causing the sea to come in and threaten the habitation of 250 fishing families.