Drinking water supply to Chennai has been slashed by 50% as Tamil Nadu stares at its worst drought in 140 years. Water supply officials told NDTV that the capital city, which requires 830 million litres of water per day, has been receiving only half of it for the past few days.
To make matters worse, the four main reservoirs around Chennai – Poondi, Red Hills, Cholavaram and Chembarambakkam – are all running dry, which means piped water for drinking is being supplied to certain areas only once in three days.
Authorities are now trying to pump 90 million litres a day to Chennai on the pipeline that draws from the Veeranam lake in Neyveli. Stone quarries in Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur and the two desalination plants in the city are the other primary sources of drinking water now. Authorities have also deployed an additional 300 water tankers in the city.
Earlier this month, the Egmore railway station, which needs 7.5 lakh litres of water a day, was facing a huge crisis. “We have been reeling with shortage, so much so that there is no water to supply for water vending units,” a railway official had told Deccan Chronicle. “The minimum the station needs are at least 6 lakh litres of water daily to ensure that water supply, cleaning of stations, coaches go on smoothly,” he had said.
In 2016, both the North East monsoon and the South West monsoon failed in Tamil Nadu, leaving is with a huge water crisis. “This is the worst drought of this century,” Muruganandan, Tahsildar of Madhavaram district, had told Scroll.in on June 4.