Published: Thu, June 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Acute water shortages hit parts of India amid searing heat wave

Acute water shortages hit parts of India amid searing heat wave

At a press conference in Coimbatore, Velumani was reported as having mentioned that several pre-emptive measures had been taken by his government, including infrastructure work conducted by the likes of the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board at the municipality and panchayat level, allegedly costing several crores. "So we are advising patients to postpone their surgeries if they are of a non-emergency kind as we do not want them confined to a hospital bed and suddenly find no water in their bathrooms". "Over 400 water tanks distributing water in the city". More than 600 million people are facing "acute" water shortages, and 21 Indian cities, including Chennai, are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020.

State Rural Development Minister S.P. Velumani said on Wednesday that the drought followed a 62 per cent shortfall in monsoon rains past year compared to 2017. "Hotels with up to 100 seats capacity need a 12 kilolitre tanker load of water daily".

Several water resources have dried up in Chennai and neighbouring areas. For instance, companies in the the IT-hub of Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) have started asking their employees to work from home. Despite the knowledge, zero water management efforts were taken.

"While some teams which are required for taking up day to day operations have been asked to come to office", many others, including software professionals, have been assigned "work from home duty", an employee of an IT major located in suburban Sholinganallur said.

Mr Palaniswami said water from desalination projects is also being distributed to people and urged people to cooperate with the government as ground water will be supplied for next four/five months till rains begin in October/November. However, the government has rejected a direct link between the water issue and the employees working from home.

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Deccan Herald quoted Chennai Hotels Association president M Ravi as saying last week that about 20 percent of the restaurants had been downing their shutters for three to four days because of the crisis.

Amid soaring heat and a deficient monsoon, Chennai is experiencing the worst water scarcity this year. "We have really rationed water use and have enough, for the moment, for the ward toilets and the toilets in OPD [the out-patient department] but it's becoming alarming", said Dr Prabhu Manickam, an orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital.

"We have also switched to biodegradable plates in all our cafeterias, temporarily closed shower facilities in our gyms, and minimised the washing of utensils in our campuses by our cafeteria vendors", CTS said in a statement.

"The only way to make this better is to improve the groundwater level", Nakkeeran, a social activist, said. Velumani's failure is behind the drinking water crisis faced by the people in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu.

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