Built in 1924, Madura Water Works in state of neglect

The ‘Madura Water Works,’ a towering building of the pre-Independence era is left in a state of neglect. It stands tall close to the river line of Vaigai at Kochadai in Madurai city.
The façade and side view of Madura Water Works building in Madurai.
The façade and side view of Madura Water Works building in Madurai.

MADURAI: Much to their amazement, people marvel at the edifice named as ‘Madura Water Works 1924’ and are excited to take a look at what things are left inside the locked building. Tall trees that surround it provide a serene and peaceful atmosphere to hang out.

Some of the residents at Kochadai, which lies on the banks of the Vaigai river and a major source of water supply to the city, said the British era building, with just two years left to mark its centenary, once functioned as a water pumping station.

Large amounts of water drawn from the Vaigai dam in Theni were treated before supplying through to various destinations in Madurai.

The building housed precious pumping machines, electric transformers and if it was opened to the public, many would learn lots of other invaluable facts along the way.

However, it remains closed for nearly 10 to 15 years and nowadays the premises have turned into a haven for anti-social elements.

There are still four infiltration wells, which could be renovated and put to use to end any water crisis, inside the river Vaigai.

Few months ago, there were talks that the antique objects, including machinery inside the building would be put up for auction. But, fortunately did not happen that way and many passersby, who took a walk into the premises, expressed their concern for the preservation of the heritage wonder.

More importantly, the British armed soldiers camped on the premises and guarded the riverbanks to protect and contain the spread of cholera, an infectious waterborne disease.

City Engineer of Madurai Corporation A Lakshmanan, when contacted, told DT Next that it (Madura Water Works) could be a wonder to behold as still there are some machineries made in England.

Currently, with flow in the Vaigai, about four to five MLD of crystal clear water is being drawn daily from the gallery.

The building could also stand a chance of being converted into a museum.

However, the City Engineer said he could conduct a thorough inspection soon on the premises of the British era building and see what could be done.

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