Industries coincide annual shutdown with summer

When there is a likelihood of water scarcity in Dakshina Kannada district, industries in the region are the first one to get the warning signals as the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) begins water-rationing for them first before proceeding to restrict domestic supply.

Considering the water scarcity in the region, major industries such as Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) are coinciding their annual maintenance shutdown with summer months.

M Venkatesh, Managing Director of MRPL, toldĀ BusinessLineĀ that MRPL faced problems due to water scarcity in 2016. However, it managed the situation in 2017 and 2018.

On March 23, MCC imposed a restriction on lifting more than 15 mgd (million gallons a day) of water for MRPL and Mangaluru SEZ (Special Economic Zone). It was further reduced to 13 mgd for April 1-15 period.

Venaktesh said MRPL plans maintenance shutdown of its refineries well in advance. OMPL (ONGC-MRPL Petrochemicals Ltd) and MRPL Phase-3 are taking shutdowns from April 15. The entire phase 3 is taking shutdown sequentially from April 15 to May 30. Depending on water supply, these units will come back one-by-one from May 15.

The fresh water requirement for the current complex of MRPL is around 12-13 mgd. This is after using recycled water and sewage water provided by MCC.

MRPL has got the environmental clearance for construction of a water desalination plant, he said. Hoping for the completion of the project by September-November 2020, he said the company will be ready with a water desalination plant for the summer of 2021.

Gaurav Hegde, president of the Kanara Small Industries Association (KSIA) at Baikampady Industrial Area in Mangaluru, said the small and medium enterprises in the industrial area do not have the water issues as of now. However, they may face the problem, if the water level at Tumbay reservoir goes down in the coming days.

Issac Vas, vice-president of Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said some of the industries at Baikampady have already initiated the process of rainwater harvesting in their premises. Vas, who operates a unit in the industrial area, said he has implemented rainwater harvesting in his premises also, and this has helped recharge borewell there.

Referring to the presence of a mangrove forest in the vicinity of the industrial area, he said some people began dumping construction debris in the recent past.

Though KSIA has taken action to stop such practices by identifying people responsible for that, there is a need to create awareness among the citizens on the importance of mangroves in the region. Mangroves are the ones that feed the ground water, he said.

Any shrinking in the mangroves may turn the industrial area into a dry land, he added.