November 17, 2016
Chennai: With the failure of the southwest monsoon and lack of rain this northeast monsoon, a drinking water crisis looms large over the state capital and its suburban regions this year as the reservoirs are quickly drying up.
In 2015, the northeast monsoon brought unprecedented heavy rain and flood that created surplus water in all the reservoirs in and around Chennai. However, this year the scenario is totally different with the water levels in the four reservoirs that cater to the drinking water needs of Chennai – Poondi, Puzhal, Chembarambakkam and Sholavaram – having drastically reduced.
The Tamil Nadu Metro Water Department is worried that the water available in these reservoirs could be supplied for only a month and few days.
Chennai alone has a population of about 70 lakhs and its per capita drinking water is about 135 litres per day. Accordingly, about 950 million litres of water has to supplied every day for drinking purposes.
“At this point of time, we have only about 1 TMC water in the four Chennai reservoirs. As per our calculation, the available water from these water bodies will be sufficient only for about 35 days,” a senior Metro Water Department official said on Thursday.
Adding to the woes of the people of Chennai, the release of Krishna river water to Chennai as per the sharing agreement between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is lesser compared to the previous year.
As on November 16, Poondi reservoir has only 119 mcft of water compared to the previous year’s figure of 1,626 mcft. Likewise, Puzhal reservoir has 417 mcft against the 2015 figure of 1,150 mcft, Chembarambakkam reservoir has 403 mcft against last year’s level of 1869 mcft and Sholavaram reservoir has a mere 74 mcft against last year’s availability of 443 mcft.
The regional Meteorological Centre statistics also said that Chennai received just 79 mm rainfall from October 1 till date against its normal of about 400 mm rainfall.
In addition, the PWD Department Water Resources wing said that the ground water level in Chennai and its surroundings has also dipped.