The local authorities say that the city of Chennai is facing an acute crisis of drinking water as the four major lakes of the city have dried up. Tamil Nadu is witnessing the worst drought in 140 years. The city requires 830 million litres of water a day, but the supply has halved over the last few days, say water supply officials.
As the Poondi, Red Hills, Cholavaram and Chembarambakkam are dry– the four most important water reservoirs of Chennai; there is no daily supply of drinking water. The condition is as such that in many areas, piped water is being supplied only once in three days. The authorities have deployed 300 water tankers in the city.
Even distant sources of water are drying up. 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 water supply official said.
The ground water level of Chennai has also drastically gone down. 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 of the city. In 2015, the lakes had overflowed due to unseasonal rains, causing devastating floods in Chennai.