The Kerala Chief Minister’s Office on Thursday said it has offered 20 lakh litres of drinking water to the Tamil Nadu government to tackle its water crisis. However, Tamil Nadu has declined the offer, the office added.

In a Facebook post, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office said: “Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office contacted the office of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister with this offer. However, we have been informed that the assistance was not required now. The government of Kerala wanted to send 20 lakh litres of drinking water by train from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai.”

It is not clear why the Tamil Nadu government rejected the offer of help. Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration Minister SP Velumani said deficiencies in some groundwater conservation projects were identified at various places, including Chennai, and were being corrected, PTI reported.

Velumani admitted that Tamil Nadu was facing its worst drought ever recorded, but added that rains are expected in a few days. He said groundwater had depleted in Chennai as the city received rainfall 190 days ago. Water is being supplied through lorries, and borewells are being dug, he said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had 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 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. Meanwhile, the Madras High Court had asked the government to give a detailed report about the number of lakes and reservoirs in the state.

Tamil Nadu and its capital Chennai are faced with an unprecedented water crisis that has triggered instances of violence and has forced establishments to find new ways to conserve water. The water shortage has also affected almost every work sector, including information technology, hospitals and restaurants.