Chennai: With the city in the grip of intense summer heat and temperatures soaring above 39 degrees Celsius, what is on everybody’s mind is the water shortage in Chennai and its suburbs.
According to the April 2019 statistics provided by Rain Centre, Chennai, water levels in the wells including Anna Nagar, Choolaimedu, Vadapalani, Ashok Nagar and Nesapakkam have completely gone dry.
It is to be noted that these areas had at least 4 metres of water according to the April 2017 survey by the same organisation.
“For the past 2-3 months, our well water level gradually decreased and now it is very low. We have been using Metrowater for 90 per cent of our needs. It becomes very difficult for us to sustain with Metrowater as we only get it only on alternate days in the week,” says Kamatchi, a resident of Lakshmi Nagar, Porur.
Rain Centre also revealed that only 40 to 50 per cent (approximately) of the city’s households have rainwater harvesting. With water scarcity looming, Chennaiites have started to dig new borewells in an attempt to replenish water resources. Digging new borewells deep into the earth seem to yield no guaranteed results for the residents as ground water levels in the city have gone down alarmingly.
“Usually, in a groundwater-rich area we should be able to source water at 40 ft itself. But with the water crisis in the city, people want to go very deep, even up to 600 ft underground. The problem with these borewells is that if a neighbour digs a well deeper than yours, the water will go to theirs naturally,” says a private borewell operator from Nelvoy.
Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) has been supplying 550 million litres of water per day to Chennai since 1 January 2019.
With monsoon failing and lakes drying up, Metrowater has now come up with various measures to supply the same 550 million litres of water per day from June to November.
According to an official press release, water will be brought from Veeranam lake, apart from wells situated at Neyveli, Poondi and Thamaraipakkam.
Also, water will be drawn from quarries in Sikkarayapuram, Erumaiyur to augment the city’s water supply. Apart from it, water will be drawn from Retteri, Perumbakkam and Ayanambakkam lakes.
Metrowater will also increase the number of tankers from 750 to 900 to supply water to residential areas in city.
Also, 1,190 water tanks will be constructed to cater to the needs of residents, it said. Metrowater has also taken steps to use tertiary treated waste water for the city’s water supply.
Construction work is on for 10 mld-capacity tertiary treatment plants at Nesapakkam and Perungudi at a cost of Rs 42.78 crore and Rs 41 crore. The recycled water will be sent to commercial establishments and industries for use, the release said.
Article by Sadakshi K R