Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday accused the media of “creating an illusion” of water scarcity in the state, even as the Madras High Court criticised his government for alleged mismanagement of water resources.

Palaniswami said the state is largely dependent on groundwater to meet its requirements till the onset of the northeast monsoon in October. He said drought and deficient monsoon had depleted groundwater levels but claimed that the problem was not as big as it was being made out, PTI reported.

He said people should understand the situation and cooperate. “The media should not create an illusion of water scarcity using some stray incidents,” Palaniswami said. “All steps are being taken to supply water. The severe drought and deficient monsoon [in the previous years] has led to depletion in groundwater levels. But drinking water is being supplied through tankers. People are using this water to even wash clothes.”

Palaniswami claimed that steps were being taken to ensure the supply of drinking water in Chennai with efforts to augment it from Veeranam lake in Cuddalore district.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court asked the state government to give a detailed report about the number of lakes and reservoirs in the state, PTI reported. The court was hearing a petition seeking the removal of encroachments in the feeding channel from Palar river to Udayendram lake in Vellore.

The court asked authorities for details of the steps taken for the removal of encroachments. The bench also noted that lakes had become smaller because of encroachment of some water bodies.

The court said that the water scarcity in the state did not happen in a day and that the government knew very well that this was coming, The News Minute reported. The judges said zero water management efforts were made by the government.

Tamil Nadu and its capital Chennai are faced with an acute water crisis that has triggered instances of violence and has forced establishments to find new ways to conserve water. The Porur Lake in Chennai, which is considered one of the main sources of water for the city, is almost at its lowest-ever level and the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board is now banking on water from desalination plants and stone quarries in Kanchipuram district, India Today reported.

The water crisis has affected almost every sector, including information technology, hospitals and restaurants. Some IT companies in Chennai have asked employees to work from home, The News Minute reported last week. At some IT offices, bathrooms only on alternate floors are operational. Hospitals have also been trying to conserve water by postponing non-essential surgeries. Several hotels in the city have decided to not serve meals for lunch to reduce the use of water, according to The Hindu.