Cauvery River, Mysore – Filter House’s future uncertain

MYSORE: Some hundred years back when the royal city got drinking water from the Cauvery river, it was an epoch-making event. The Jewel Filter House mapped all that went in to draw water from the river flowing some 12 km away.

The prized possession of the Vani Vilas Water Works, which in itself has historical significance was set up exclusively for management of drinking water and was proposed to be preserved for posterity converting it into a museum.

As the VVWW, the water supply arm of the Mysore’s civic body, is building a new facility to treat water pumped from Belagola on the banks of the Cauvery, there is no clarity on the vintage monument, Filter House. The new facility is built to rest the heritage facility where pumped water was filtered and treated before pumped back to two ground-level reservoirs located at Yadavgiri to be supplied to Mysoreans. The saving grace is that mayor Purushothama wants to preserve it. He says: “We will retain the property.”

The proposed museum, an idea of the then corporation commissioner A B Ibrahim, was to showcase sheer dedication and efforts that went into drawing water from the river to Mysore some 100 years ago. Set in a plot of 11 acres in the VVWW, the Filter House is purely an utilitarian building. The L-shaped structure has some of the remarkable designs like dormers in tiled roof and finialed gables. The officials had proposed to protect the piece of history by converting it into a museum where water treatment technology dates back to a century and the machineries used were intended to be preserved. It was constructed during the period of Maharani Kempananjamammanni Vani Vilas, the Queen Regent.

During the Maharaja’s rule, water was pumped from the Belagola pumping station to the VVWW, where it was filtered and treated and pumped to two ground-level reservoirs located at Yadavgiri. The location and sheer gravity of the ground-level reservoirs ensured that water is distributed without additional pumping. Technology and designs adopted to draw water from Cauvery to Mysore by administrators was considered as a model for modern day urban planners. It was the technical know-how that was slated to be showcased at the proposed museum.

History has it that an attempt to draw water from Cauvery at the end of 18th century proved futile. It was surmised that water cannot be drawn from the river to Mysore. But with the city getting power supply after commissioning power units at Shivanasamudra, Asia’s first hydro-electric station, in 1908, Cauvery winded its way to Mysore. The pumping station at Belagola was set up for the purpose and the equipment were imported from England. After the construction of Krishnarajasagar dam, water is being drawn from Devaraj canal.

From TOI

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