Name of Organization
Part Vembanad Lake, Part NW-3, Canals, Backwaters around mainland of Kochi
Kochi City, the commercial capital of Kerala and a city having a major Port, is surrounded by 10 islands, which are having human habitation. The islanders depend on the City of Kochi not only for earning their livelihood, but also for trade, business, health-care, education, etc. Though there are boat services between the City and many of the islands, such services are highly irregular and unreliable. Therefore, the plan was to connect the islands with the City in a Metro Rail-like fashion having a fixed headway so that the islanders can travel to & fro comfortably, with certainty and reliability. This in turn will improve their socio-economic conditions and will also help in infrastructural development in the islands. Further, the Water Metro will be sustainable in terms of pollution, protecting the aquatic flora & fauna, and protecting the fragile source of the Vembanad lake. Subsequently, the tourism potential was also envisaged as an objective to this project
The proposed project consists of 78 Boats, 38 jetties, which we call water metro terminals, located on 10 islands over 76 route kilometers in the Vembanadu Lake (back waters of Kochi). The State of the Art air-conditioned boats will provide safe, comfort, reliability, punctuality and will be affordable to a large section of people just like the Kochi Metro Rail system. The Project offers inter modal connectivity between Jetties, Bus terminals, Metro networks, Railways etc.
Solution has been proposed on the Detail Project Report submitted based on the study on Traffic network of Kochi city, Demography and Socio economic profile, travel characteristics of Kochi City etc. by Urban Mass Transit Company Ltd. The system consists of eco-friendly electric hybrid boats, disable friendly floating jetties to cater to the needs of islanders with reliability & safety.
Project is sourced from German funding agency KfW and Govt. Of Kerala fund. Construction of terminals and boats is funded from KfW. Land acquisition and taxes are covered from GOK fund.
The project is mostly implemented using indigenous contractors/vendors. Construction began at available Govt. lands which is phased it as Phase 1 along with 23 nos 100pax boats awarded out to M/s Cochin Shipyard Ltd. Remaining works are being taken up in Phase 2, which is now under various stages of tendering.
The backwaters surrounding Kochi city are characterized by their shallow and narrow channels, which pose various challenges for boat design and maintenance. One of the main obstacles in designing boats for these waterways is ensuring navigation at low depths and through narrow passages while protecting the shores. Additionally, boats must be designed to achieve adequate speed while competing with road transportation. Maintenance is another significant challenge in operating boats in the backwaters. Daily upkeep is necessary to ensure the boats remain in good condition and can operate safely. Furthermore, the removal of water hyacinth and regular de-siltation after the monsoon season are costly and time-consuming tasks that require significant investment.
The Existing running boats operate in diesel, which emit a great amount of Green House Gas and cost of fuel is also a concern Water Metro Boats run on Electricity. Overall, operating boats in the backwaters of Kochi city requires careful planning, design, and maintenance to ensure safe and efficient transportation while minimizing environmental impact.
To address the challenges of navigating the shallow and narrow channels while protecting the shore and the ecosystem, the decision was made to use catamaran aluminum boats with slender hulls that produce low wake wash. The boats are equipped with an electric hybrid propulsion system that reduces emissions and ensures a sustainable mode of transportation. To minimize the impact on the environment, the maximum speed of the boats was set at 10 knots.
Normal operation of boats is in electric mode, which ensures no emission to harm the atmosphere and cost less in terms of fuel. There are plan to achieve net zero fuel cost by owning a solar power plant. Furthermore, to maintain the waterways and remove water hyacinth, the organization is planning to invest in weed harvester and dredger in the future. Additionally, a boat yard is being planned to provide routine maintenance for the boats, ensuring they remain in good condition and operate safely.
Multi modal integration of transport system (Metro rail, Road and water transport system):
- Improvement of Livelihood of islanders in and around Kochi city.
- Employment for people in and around Kochi city.
- High energy efficient boat with low carbon footprint.
- Reduce Congestion on the road.
- Infrastructure development of the interior/remote villages.
Water Metro Project as of now have received 7 boats and 5 terminal completed in all aspects and ready to begin operation in two routes. When the system is established in full it is going to cover 76 route kms connecting 38 terminals. With addition of floating pontoons in Jetty side disable friendly mode of transportation is promoted. The Passenger Counting System (PCS) installed in the terminals will ensure that at any given time, a boat will not cross the maximum allowed number of passengers and prevent overcrowding.
The Water Metro transportation system is expected to have a significant impact on the city of Kochi by providing sustainable transportation options and reducing the carbon footprint of the city. In the first phase, the Water Metro is anticipated to commute approximately 34,000 passengers daily, thereby reducing congestion on the roads.
Moreover, the Water Metro is expected to significantly reduce the city's carbon footprint, with a projected annual reduction of 44,000 tons of CO2 emissions once fully operational. This reduction in emissions will contribute to the ambitious national targets of becoming carbon-neutral, ultimately helping to save the planet Earth.
To achieve these goals, the Water Metro has committed to meeting its energy requirements entirely from renewable sources. This decision ensures that the system's operation will have minimal environmental impact and provide a sustainable transportation solution for the community.
India has an extensive network of National Waterways (NW), covering a total length of 20,236 kilometres and serving 15 states. However, despite this vast water network, passenger transportation remains highly underutilized in the country compared to other countries like the United States and European Union. There is significant potential for the implementation of water metro projects across India, as evidenced by the total navigable length identified by the Inland Waterways Authority of India.
Furthermore, the success of the Water Metro transportation system in Kochi city can serve as a model for other cities in India with navigable water bodies. With approximately 40 cities in India having the potential to replicate and adapt the Water Metro system, there is an opportunity to provide sustainable and efficient transportation options to residents across the country.
- The integration of various modes of transport will ensure the commuters a flawless first and last mile connectivity.
- Utilise the available waterways effectively to reduce energy and cost.
- Minimise usage of fossil fuel and move to different sources of renewable energy to protect the environment.
- Indirectly becoming an instrument in protecting the waterways/Vembanad lake by cleaning and desilting it regularly.
Electric Hybrid Boats, Fast charging mechanism, LTO batteries in Marine crafts, concrete floating pontoons, Passenger control system(PCS), Low wake wash Slender hull design etc.