Chennai is facing water scarcity and Ambattur is no different on that front. Residents state that in many areas, water comes once every two days and that too only for 45 minutes rather than for an hour unlike what was promised earlier. It is not like borewells hold water either, since the mandatory rainwater harvesting rule has been flouted by many.
“People who cannot afford to deepen their borewells are left with no clue as to what to do next. We get metrowater, but we can see that the quantity is less, for the reservoirs have dried up already. The situation is grim to be frank,” said Vignesh, a resident of Ambattur.
Asked if tankers are available to sort the issue out, Hema, from Surapet, said, “Those who can order a tanker need to have a 9,000 litre sump at least, because the Metrowater department at the moment does not send small tankers to our neighbourhood. It means although we spend close to Rs 1,000 per tanker, once our sump gets filled, the drivers take the excess water and make merry selling them somewhere else. We can’t ask them because anything either.”
She added that the Metrowater officials should send smaller tankers for the benefit of residents. Others mention that the number of small mineral water factories that operate in the neighbourhood have added to their plight for they constantly use ground water. “If they keep draining ground water without any constraint, their business will boom, but the next generation will be heavily affected,” said residents.
With people stating problems like these, others point out that water scarcity could have been avoided had authorities taken care of Ambattur lake.
“We are told that the lake has, at the moment, around one tmc of water. And all that could have been tapped. Instead, authorities turned a blind eye to residents letting sewage into the lake and now the water is black in colour. It is no more potable. It is gut-wrenching really. All that water was left to waste while people are struggling to get enough water to meet their needs,” said Sekar, a resident.
He said residents who haven’t got sewage connection let the waster into the lake, while authorities have not taken steps to solve the problem. “All we can ask now is for authorities to clean the lake, strengthen the bunds, and stop sewage and other wastes from being let in. Also, they must ensure that they desilt the lake and deepen it so that when rains come, we will be better equipped to face summer next year. As for this year, well things are going to be as they are. Polls are on and authorities will be caught up with that work right?” said Sekar.