One of India's biggest cities has almost run out of water

Delayed monsoon season leaves millions with dwindling supply

Phoebe Weston
Science Correspondent
Tuesday 25 June 2019 11:35
Comments
India creates new ministry to deal with water crisis

One of India’s largest cities, home to nearly five million people, is running out of water as the main reserve is drying up.

Satellite surveys from June 2019 show Chennai’s main rain-fed reservoir Lake Puzhal is a fraction of what it was this time last year.

All four of the city’s primary reserves are almost dry, meaning that four million people are dependent on non-potable water collected from makeshift wells. The Chennai Metro Water has cut the water it provides by 40 per cent.

Shortages started several weeks ago and the government has been heavily criticised for relying on the arrival of the monsoon instead of taking action. The rains are unreliable and have been late for several years in a row.

The delayed monsoon has left millions of people without water as devastating heatwaves sweep across the country, killing hundreds.

Poor urban development in Chennai also means water is not recycled and rainwater is not collected.

Earlier this month in Churu in Rajasthan, the temperature hit 50C which is just shy of India’s all-time high recorded in 2016.

The health ministry issued advice for staying safe in rising temperatures. They included avoiding the sun between noon and 3pm and refraining from drinking alcohol, tea and coffee.

The heatwave is part of a trend of rising temperatures in India.

Last year was the sixth-warmest since national record-keeping began in 1901 and 11 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2004.

The frequency of heatwaves is also increasing, a government minister told India’s parliament earlier this year.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in