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Desalination of water of 6000 TDS - Pallikaranai, Chennai

Hello Experts, First of all, let me thank you for the wonderful work you are doing here by providing your expert opinions. Recently I tried to install purifiers for my borewell water and had contacted a few companies. But it turned out that the water contains TDS of 6000 and all the company representatives suggested that the domestic water purifiers are not feasible for this high range of TDS and I should install commercial purifiers costing 2 lakhs initially and 10% maintenance cost every year. My questions are: 1. Is there no domestic water purifier at all which can purify this water? 2. Is there cheaper commercial alternatives to get the water purified? 3. Is the above suggested solution worth or should I just drop plans for purification and go for buying water in tankers? Please let me know your suggestions. Thank you in advance.




1. I would be sufficient if I

I would be sufficient if I can use this water for bathing and washing purposes only.

2. Desalination of high TDS water for domestic use.

What you have been told by reps of various companies is correct.It is not possible to desalinate water with 6000ppm TDS using a domestic reverse osmosis(RO) unit.These units can only handle TDS levels up to 1200ppm.

A commercial/industrial RO unit with a normal flow rate of over 1000 lits/hr can do this job with some modifications and special membranes.It will be very expensive to operate,leave alone buy.Only a highly trained operator would be able to operate such plants and hence it is simply not feasible.

You should carry out Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) at your place,as,it can improve the quality of your well water over a period of years.

Buying tanker loads of water with TDS levels less than 1000 ppm would be the most economical option for you and also the least trouble some.


3. New borewell with less depth?

Dear Mr. Ranganathan,

Thank you for the valuable advice. I was thinking of RWH as a long term solution and your response has encouraged me to go ahead with it.

I have another query. My current borewell is 53 metres deep and the TDS level is 6000. One of my neighbour's borewell is 28 metres deep and the TDS of their water is around 1500. There is another neighbour whose borewell is 60 metres deep and TDS is greater than 6000. Based on these facts, I am wondering if the depth of the bore is inversely proportional to the quality of water. Would it make sense for me to dig a new borewell of around 30 meters and see if I can get better water? Would this solution benefit me on a longer term basis?

Please advice.



4. Desalination of water of 6000 TDS - Pallikaranai, Chennai

Dear Sir,


I am watching this portal, especially  on the change of quality of water in Chennai area.

I am just 2 years old in practically observing the Geohydrology and behaviour changes in chemical and biological quality  of ground water in the Chennai Area. Still my hobby is continuing.  

To some of the queries in this portal, I have suggested to conduct Geophysical Logging of the bore well and determine good quality water bearing layer. Then proceed with construction of the bore well with appropriate slot open position after arresting or sealing the poor quality water yielding zone.

This practice is not at all is taking place even with the elite societies domicile the city.  Our society needs some kind of awareness.

Your statement the quality of the bore inversely proportional to depth may not be correct in all the areas of the city, some times if there are poor quality yielding zone exists at shallow depth you will loose your good quality zone form the bottom to to mix. 

It is better you drill the bore well and conduct Geophysical logging, a self potential, long normal, short normal and Gamma logs will depict, the good quality, saline and clay zones with about 98% accuracy.  Such facility should be available with PWD-Ground water division, TWAD Board or in university or in the Water Resources Center.

There are few consultant firms are also available in Chennai to conduct Geophysical logging.

By this way if you are able to seal off the poor/ bad quality yielding zone then you are assured off low TDS yielding zone.  There are areas with 600 TDS bearing one.  

In your area, I under stand that the good quality water bearing strata lies some where between the depth ranges 19 to 35 meter.  Please note I have not conducted any study. It is only based on my observation during my roaming in these area as a hobby. The quality statement is also based only on my personal taste of bore well water, where ever I had a chance to taste.

If you are unable to do the Geophysical logging, you can seal the top 15 to 20 meter layer with tiny clay balls and not to drill beyond 30 meters depth.

I hope this may quest your water problem.

With best wishes,

A. Raja Mohamed Ambalam

Coastal Energy Pvt Ltd  




5. New bore well with less depth?

Dear Mr.Ashok,

I would urge you to go in for Rain Water Harvesting(RWH) immediately.The harvested rain water should be used to re-charge your ground water and a part of it can be stored in either a sump if you have an extra sump or in an above ground Sintex type of tank.This stored water can be mixed with bore well water to dilute it and reduce TDS for certain low grade uses.Over a period of several years, the quality of your bore well water will improve.You can approach the Rain Centre in Chennai for help on RWH.

In the 40 years I have been active in the field of water management,I have found that without exception, the deeper the bore well,the higher the TDS.Information about bore well depths and TDS levels of your neighbours bears this out,but, this may also be because each bore well is tapping into a different acquifer.

Mr.Raja Mohamed Ambalam has given some good advice based on his experience and knowledge.Perhaps you should contact firms which do geophysical logging with his help and get a quote for the logging and other work that would have to be done.This would help you to decide whether it is a risk worth taking.

Unfortunately,in India there is an excessive reliance on ground water.If your locality gets more residential buildings and more people,they will all contribute to further drops in the level of ground water and a steady worsening of quality.To put it simply,the more water you take out of the ground without doing anything to replace it, will result in an increase in well depths and TDS.



093437 34229


6. Thank you gentlemen!

Thank you Mr.Raja Mohamed Ambalam and Mr.Ranganathan. I think I have got the necessary information from your advice. I will try to implement the same and get back to you with the results once I get them!

7. New bore well with less depth?

Dear Sir, 

I am adding something more on the renowned Mr. S.S. R. Suggestion.  The rain water harvesting should be carried out by each one of the ground water exploiter.  If not all, at major portion of the rain water recharge get mixed with ground water body.


To be more effective, if we are able find a betting yielding zone then exactly in that layer we can slug in the rain water trough the recharge, because a transmitting layer is also a good receiving layer.  Though it cost an equal amount of investment, if we are able to block the other zone and send our recharge rainwater only through the some what better water quality bearing strata then our investment will be more effective and slowly the sustainability will get established. This is possible only if we area able to delineate the better water quality zones and slug in the rain water recharge.

I hope you are aware of the procedure,other construction and precautionary measures required for rain water recharge through bore wells.

With best wishes,

A. Raja Mohamed 


8. Confining the RWH recharge area

Dear Mr.RajaMohamed Ambalam,

Thank you. Could you please clarify my understanding and doubts below?

1. RWH will not be effective if only I am doing it while the other homes near me don't do it and just exploit ground water. Is this correct?

2. If it is the case, is it possible to somehow confine my water catchment area and protect it from the sorrounding areas so that I can benefit from recharging my borewell with RWH?



9. Confining the RWH recharge area

Dear Sir,


1. Yes it will be more effective if we do with the battery of bore wells.  A single tree can not make grove.  We should create awareness among your neighbours.   When your bore well water is sweeter than your neighbours they will also adopt your techniques and slowly the cult will built in.

By way of rain water harvesting we are recharging the entire regium of the the ground water zone. If we do directional recharge as suggested by me the entire zone in that particular layer is poised for recharge.  


2. Suppose if your neighbour is also tapping the same zone accidentaly or by coincidence, we can not restrict them.  

It is a dynamic system and the groundwater will move to the high potential zone to low potential head due difference in the hydraulic pressure, resistance it face during the flow and other impediments to its movement.  By pumping we are trying to reduce the hydrostatic pressure through our sucking or pushing capacity. Once we stop pumping an equilibrium condition automatically evolve, depending up on the system characteristic. 


Hence we can not restrict the rain water harvested only in your catchment zone.  However by directional recharge you can restrict the zone of recharge and who ever taps the zone they all will enjoy the benefit.  

In a smaller way you can get the benefit, but before you put on your pump if some body else in the neighbour hood starts pumping the flow will go to him.  It is a natures domain and we can try to bend it and we can not bound its dynamic nature.

If you read my answer in this same portal provided to  a Hyderabad area it has been described vividly.   We can not bound the system which is dynamic.  What you are trying to do is improving the quality of water.  Your bore well neighbourhood will over the long run will improve due to rain water harvesting and your water is much more sweeter than others water.   By we can not restrict or confine its movement.

You can satisfy that your water is much sweeter than the others.


With best wishes,

A. Raja Mohamed



10. Thank you sir!

Thank you again Mr. Raja Mohamed for the nice reply!

11. TDS Level @ Pallikaranai

Hi All,

I was shocked to know that the TDS level of water is around 6000 @ Pallikaranai. I do stay @ Pallikaranai and recently checked with an Aquaguard rep for installing an RO as I thought the can water we buy is not safe.

The rep came and checked our two borewells water (tap water) and the can water. He told that the TDS level is around 1800 in one borewell water, 1400 in another borewell water, and 17 in can water. So, he suggested that the can water resembles no lesser than rain water and told that he can install Aquaguard total enhance which can treat borewell water containing TDS upto 4000.

How come there would be a difference of 4000 in the TDS level in the same area?

Please advice.

Jagan (ph:8754404269)

12. more information

Hi Jagan,

TDS values vary depending upon several characteristics including the methods used to assess it. Did the representative mention the method used? And the "amount" of TDS measured as a numerical value with the valid units? This would be helpful if provided to better understand the situation.

However the TDS FAQ here would provide you with valuable back ground information:

The Groundwater FAQ here would help you understand the distribution, access & variables involved in the exloitation of the same: 

13. Hi, Thanks for your response.


Thanks for your response. He brought a hand held instrument to test the TDS level of water. He just dipped the instrument in the water and it showed some value like 180.0 x10 something like this. Then, he told that the value is 1800 mg something.



14. Reference for Geophysical logging

Hi friends,

In continuation of my quest to solve the above discussed problem, I would request further guidance from the experts. I want to try all possible solutions before giving up on this issue :)

I will be in India during November/December and I plan to do a Geophysical logging (as kindly suggested by Mr.Mohamed) at my house to study the feasibility of finding the optimal depth for borewell to get somewhat treatable water.

Could anyone provide with reference to any genuine consultants for the same in Chennai? I would also appreciate any guesstimate on the price involved.

Thank you in advance.

Kind Regards,


15. We are also faced with a similar situation in Chennai

Hi Mr. Ashok,

I also live in Madiapkkam and we also encounter the same ground water TDS problem of around 5000 ppm.

Mr. SSR, is there a way where we can soften the water which can bring down the TDS to some level where we can use the ground water after softening for washing and cleaning purposes or even bathing purposes?

What kind of softening agents/resins need to be used. This will be for domestic purpose where everyday consumption will be around 1000-15000 ltrs.

Any suggestions?


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