Chennai, Hyderabad and the water crisis!

Just 16 months back, the Chennai floods happened…. nearly 1500+ people lost their lives and the city was submerged for four days. It caused untold damage and while the citizens rose up to the occasion and helped each other, the then Government of late Jayalalitha dawdled. There were caught unprepared and they caught the citizens unprepared, leading to havoc. Read my blogs under the category of “Chennai floods 2015” to know more of what had happened. This blog is about the looming water crisis in Chennai and Hyderabad. First, Chennai lost the opportunity during the Dec 2015 floods to save water – nearly a year’s requirement was drained into the Bay of Bengal. Read this article – Chennai emptied a year’s drinking water in sea.

Chennai has always had water shortage. One of the things that the late Jayalalitha did in her second term as Chief Minister was to campaign for rainwater harvesting and for many years it changed the water shortage situation on its head. The thing that has been missing for a long time now, is managing the various water “bodies” that can store the rain water and ensure water supply for the entire year. Most of the lakes have been dried out because of sand mining and construction of “flats” and houses. The natural water channels are all blocked and the insistence on building houses with rainwater harvesting seems forgotten. Also the number of condominium complexes that dot the city are mind boggling… there is construction happening all the time. Where is the water supply for all these condos??

Here’s a picture from one of our morning walks in Chennai –

For two days, water from this house was let out into the nearby swamp …. maybe they were building a better storage tank or maybe something fell into the water and they didn’t want to use it again. Whatever be the reason, its several thousands of litres of precious water that was let out. Its not just these folks, everybody uses water without any thought of tomorrow – to wash clothes, to wash themselves, to put rangoli (kolam) outside their house etc etc. Taps are leaking and dont get fixed. When you wash clothes, why not use that water for the plants? When you use a washing machine, please check how much water gets used. There are detergents that dont foam much and use less water, please switch to those. Simple things that will help save a lot of water without any help from the government ! What’s stopping the Chennai “makkal” (people) ? Its the same thing as using plastic bags…. we just dont care. We assume the Earth will continue to provide us with everything even as we continue to abuse her. I dont want to write more about plastic bags – have said all that I can in this blog – The soul is eternal, so is plastic !!. Please wake up and smell the coffee before the only smell you get is from the ever growing garbage dumps across the city :(.

Now coming to Hyderabad, where we are currently. Every day that we go out for a walk, there are bikes being washed and cars being washed and rooftops being washed with bucket loads of water or a tube with water flowing non-stop. Can these folks stop to think about what their grand kids will do for water? Exactly the way it happened in Chennai, several lakes in Hyderabad have dried up and houses/condos have come up in those places. Every year there is water crisis and still no effort is made towards rain water harvesting or other sustainable ways of storing water. Some low lying areas keep getting water and they continue to misuse while in many parts of the city people are struggling. Washing machines that use huge amounts of water need to be used less or replaced… soon it will be an imperative! We just aren’t seeing the writing on the wall.

I think I will repost the following blog of mine every year or maybe every quarter – water will be the reason for the next world war, thats how terrible the situation is.

Please read and please conserve water – Avoid the next world war!.


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