Depleted groundwater resources and late Monsoons have triggered a deepening water crisis in Chennai. More than a million residents in and around Chennai metropolis have been affected.
Chennai is a megapolis in Southern India, a mega commercial and technological hub. Chennai has been grabbing major headlines due to the acute water crisis the city has been facing since the past few months. The drought-like situation has persisted since the winters of 2018 but now it has been reported that major water reservoirs have dried up in the city due to late incoming of the monsoon season.
Lesser rainfall over the years prompted major water reservoirs around the city to dry up over the past year. Chennai, which is a normal year gets anything between 1,300 mm and 1,400 mm of rainfall during Monsoons has been grappling with a rainfall cover of less than 1000mm.
Groundwater in Chennai has been depleted severely with suburban areas in Chennai pumping out groundwater from more than 100 feet below the ground level.
A study by the Anna University, Tamil Nadu has highlighted the fact that Chennai has lost 33 percent of its wetlands in less than ten years. During the same period, Chennai also lost 24 percent of agricultural land, crucial for improving groundwater table.
The Centre for Climate Change has blamed road construction – highways and flyovers, airports and high-rises for depleting underground water resources in Chennai. These development projects were undertaken on reclaimed water bodies and dried them up.
The four main freshwater reservoirs that supply clean drinking water in Chennai are currently at less than one percent of storage level.
MET department has predicted a weaker monsoon season, which can further worsen the water crisis.
Leaders from Tamil Nadu have highlighted the acute water shortage in Chennai in the Upper House of the Parliament and have demanded immediate relief water tankers throughout the city from the Centre.
AIADMK member R Vaithilingam stated that Chennai is the first city in India to ‘run dry’.
Jal Shakti Initiative, an initiative by the present Cabinet to tackle depleting water resources and water harvesting in India is dedicated to provide clean drinking water to every household of India by 2024.
Excessive groundwater extraction is the major reason for the looming water crisis in India’s metropolises like Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Mumbai.