Tamil Nadu Battles Drought, Drinking Water Crisis In Chennai

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Chennai: Chennai is witnessing acute water crisis as all four lakes around the city have dried up, said the local authorities.

Cited as the worst drought in 140 years , the drinking water to the state’s capital city has been cut down by 50 per cent. The city requires 830  million litres of water a day, but the supply has halved over the last few days.

There is no daily supply of drinking water in Chennai as the four main reservoirs — Poondi, Red Hills, Cholavaram and Chembarambakkam are dry.

In many areas, piped water is being supplied only once in three days. The authorities have deployed 300 water tankers in the city.

The Veeranam lake in Neyveli, a town more than 200 km away, from where Chennai receives supply through a huge pipeline is dry too. The authorities, however, are tapping other resources in the area to pump 90 million litres a day to Chennai through the same pipeline.

“Water is also coming in from stone quarries in Kancheeputam and  Thiruvallur, besides two desalination plants in the city,” a senior official said.

The groundwater in Chennai and its surrounding areas is replenished by five lakes — Puzhal, Sholavaram, Kaliveli, Pulicat and Maduranthakam — all located within a 60-km radius. In 2015, the lakes overflowed due to unseasonal rains, causing devastating floods in Chennai.

Besides, there are thousands of water bodies in Chennai and its neighbouring districts. Green activists say had these water bodies been maintained, Chennai would never suffer from crisis. They blame rapid urbanization for the lack of upkeep of these water bodies.