Environmental Crisis in Chennai: City in Indian Running out of Water

Environmental Crisis in Chennai: City in Indian Running out of Water

The environmental problems arising all around the world are nothing strange nowadays. Due to severe climate changes caused by many manmade factors are causing floods, droughts, pollution, and other serious problems. One of the examples is the Chennai water crisis in India. 

In 2019 this city has reached the point where it was completely depleted of water. The “Day Zero” as the officials referred to it, happened on the 19th of June. This city has four main water reservoirs, Poondi, Cholavaram, Redhills, and Chembarambakkam, responsible for supplying the area with water. Now, they are all dry. 

Reasons Behind It

The indirect reasons are, of course, climate changes around the world. However, the main cause of the water crisis in Chennai is the lack of monsoons. The period of extreme drought lasted from 2016 to 2018, and the damage done is beyond comprehension. There have been two years since the last rainfall, and the area is suffering great consequences from the 2019 heatwave, as well. 

The people of Chennai left without drinking water are resorting to various alternative water sources. Some of them include using water from water sources located far away from the city, which is not examined enough. Secondly, they use public water pumps which are not always reliable, and thirdly, the wealthy ones rely on private water tanks. 

In one of the largest cities in India, Chennai, the main reason behind the lack of water is actually water management. Even if drinking water is considered a luxury in this city and the problems surrounding it keep piling up, the government remains idle. In fact, it came to the point where the wealthier people could afford to dig deep wells from their land and sell it further. 

Logically, as the government neglected all of it, this ended up in drainage in the groundwater aquifer to the point where the natural recharging wasn’t fast enough. This further led to protests all around the area. People were complaining that water ceased to be a basic human right in the city. 

Current Situation

The government of Chennai declared that there are sufficient water supplies due to teh recent rains. However, there is still no long-term solution to this problem. Moreover, this is not the only city facing the water depletion problems. As a matter of fact, according to some calculations, more than a couple of dozen cities in Indian could run out of the groundwater by 2020. 

Unfortunately, the city of Chennai can only rely on the monsoon rainfall as a water source. The rivers are polluted by human waste so that one is not even considered as an option. Hopefully, the problems with water and government mismanagement will improve in the coming year, as these are the ones to blame for this major water crisis in Chennai.