As Chennai reels under a severe water crisis, that has brought many parts of the city to a standstill, the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has reportedly begun turning off its air-conditioning to reduce water consumption. The CMRL has resorted to the extreme measure as summer temperatures have been soaring across the state and the water levels in the four lakes in Chennai’s periphery have recorded one of the lowest in 70 years.
The CMRL has resorted to turning off the air-conditioning during non-peak hours between noon and 5 pm. The Chennai Metro reportedly consumes 9,000 liters of water daily with nearly 80% of that going towards operating the air-conditioning system. While the move may help save water, the passengers have been inconvenienced due to it. It may be noted that unlike other modes of public transportation available in the city— the MRTS and buses, a huge part of the Chennai Metro’s appeal to commuters is the air-conditioning.
Worsening the water crisis across the city, close to 5,000 private water tankers that supply water to Chennai from Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts threatened to go on strike beginning May 27, following a crackdown by the government on ‘illegal’ drawing of water. While the Tamil Nadu Private Water Tanker Lorry Owners’ Association temporarily called off the strike, the move prompted over 100 residents’ association across Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) to write to the Chief Minister, seeking his intervention to address the water crisis.