Chennai faces the worst water crisis in 70 years

The water levels in Chennai’s four main reservoirs has recorded one of its lowest levels in seven decades, with the current quantities adding up to only 1.3% of the total capacity. This is the fifth lowest quantity of water recorded in the last 74 years, making it one of the worst droughts the city has witnessed.

According to data from the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB), Chembarambakkam Lake has only 1mcft of water compared to its capacity of 3645 mcft, Redhills has 28 mcft compared to 3300 mcft of storage, Poondi contains 118 mcft of water, as opposed to its storage of 3231 mcft and Cholavaram, has 4 mcft compared to a total capacity of 1081 mcft.

Weather blogger and ‘Tamil Nadu Weatherman’ Pradeep John who compiled that data points out that in July 2017, the total storage was only 0.6% of the total capacity and in September 2004 it was 0.0%. In October of 1987, before the Chembarambakkam Lake became a source of water, the city saw 0.0% of water stored and in July of 1975 the water stored as only 0.4% of the total capacity of the reservoirs.  Chennai is already battling an acute water crisis despite CMWSSB rationing supplies from January. From the total daily supply of about 880 million litres a day, it has been brought down to 550 million litres a day. On May 15, CMWSSB stopped drawing water from the Redhills lake, which supplies the city 90 million litres-120 million litres a day.