Tamil Nadu water woes: Chennai goes thirsty, industry feels the heat

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Tamil Nadu water woes: Chennai goes thirsty, industry feels the heat

The city is facing drought for the third year in a row.

Chennai is in the middle of a severe water crisis which has not only led to violent clashes between locals over drawing and storing water but also to a partial shut down of the city's commercial establishments. "Calculate how much more water is needed to run the rest of the hospital", Dr Deepak, a gastro surgeon, told the magazine.

Water storage levels in the city's four major reservoirs were one-hundredth of what they were this time previous year - and at a mere 0.2% of capacity, according to state government data. In terms of water consumption, Chennai's per capita consumption at 107 liters per capita per day is low compared to 140-270 per capita per day in other cities.

Various industries are taking measures to mitigate this crisis and cut down water usage.

PTI quoted industry sources as saying that quite a few top companies along Old Mahabalipuram Road, also known as the "IT corridor", and the Siruseri IT Park had verbally asked employees to work from home. "Till then we have to meet the requirements only from groundwater sources", he said.

"Over 20,000 IT employees have been asked to either work from home or move to the company offices at Bengaluru or Hyderabad". Each individual is reeling under an acute water shortage. He added that some of the companies have put a halt on the recruitment process for the time being.

The water level at Kadaleru dam is presently about 4 tmc.

Real estate developers have stopped construction work in major parts of the city due to water crisis.

"We are not able to get good water fulfilling quality parameters from the ground hence we are forced to buy tanker water which is very costly and increases the cost of construction", Varun Manian, Managing Director, Radiance Realty Developers India Ltd, told IANS.

He said water supply has been stepped up from the earlier 450 MLD (million litre per day) to current 525 MLD and it will be continued till the onset of monsoon.

While declining to confirm the work from home option, senior officials of IT companies in SIPCOT complex, maintained that the quantum of water that they receive was insufficient to manage normal operations. "Water management is a crucial subject". They have installed a rainwater harvesting system which collects rainwater from the factory premises into a storage pond.

In many villages Ramanathapuram, draw of lots is the mode of selection for distributing water.

For its customers "dry wash" auto cleaning service has been brought back in the service stations, so that customers can get their cars cleaned through an eco-friendly process which can save up to 120 litres of water for each vehicle.

The water shortage in Chennai started several weeks ago and Madras's high court has criticised the Tamil Nadu state government for inaction.

Employees in Chennai-based companies such as Fiat Chrysler, TCS, Wipro and Cognizant said they had been asked to cut back on water use in canteens and restrooms.

While the middle class can just about manage to pay the inflated prices now being charged by private water-tanker companies, that option is not open to the poor.

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