Chennai’s Water Crisis-An Insight.

Since the inception of the 20th century, Chennai’s weather has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Especially after 2010, our Northeast Monsoon has been so erratic and extreme with killer floods and cyclones one year followed by a bone wrenching drought the next year. This has become a pattern. So, can we blame the erratic monsoon for the acute water scarcity that we are amid currently? Perhaps not!

Fortunately, Chennai’s Meenambakkam weather station is about 200 years old (one of the oldest in the world), which means our city’s climatology for the past 200 years has been on record. What does this have to say with our crisis? It says that floods and drought have been very common in Chennai. There has been torrential rainfall of more than 2000mm at least once in every decade similar to what we saw in 2015. There has been extreme rainfall, poor rainfall and droughts taking place all within a decade as we have now. To solidify this more, pieces of Tamil literature like Ponniyin Selvan has a written record of cyclones, floods, droughts which occurred in the state. This has been our weather pattern, and it continues to be that way. Go check the records naysayers!



But never have we ever witnessed a water crisis as acute as this. Frankly speaking, Chennai has become a desert with zero natural water source. We all know the reason, don’t we? Of course, the population growth hasn’t helped. And yes, the government failed to build water reservoirs or prevent encroachment of major lakes. We knew this was coming after seeing the historical 2015 floods. But because of our lackadaisical preparedness, we are suffering now. We deserved this.

The remedy for this may sound silly but can be very effective. Rainwater harvesting it is! Enough of blaming the government and the poor monsoons. Let’s get ourselves into the thick of things. Chennaites think that they receive rains only during October, November & December. Little do they know that the months from June to September account for nearly 40cm of rainfall (35% of our annual rainfall). And believe me, the rainfall during these four months (often called ‘thunderstorms’) is yet to fail us even once in this decade! Still complaining about the weather?

Thanks to many private bloggers and their timely awareness, thousands of homes in Chennai have adopted Rain Water harvesting methods this summer alone. Glad that at least now we have started to realise the seriousness. If Rain Water harvesting is done on a large scale by the government, we might be able to avoid such acute scarcities in the future. The desalination plants have fortunately prevented us from becoming the next Cape Town this year. But it is too expensive to depend on forever. It is never too late to act, start showing concern at least now. If not, tough days (years) lie ahead of us!


Article penned by K.M.Sreehari,2nd Year, Automobile dept.

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