Chennai may face water shortage as monsoon fails

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With just a month left for the monsoon season to end, the city could be heading for an acute water crisis in summer next year, if the rain plays truant and fails to make up for the existing deficit in December. The storage position of four city reservoirs seems most unlikely to last till the dog days. As on Friday, the reservoirs in Poondi, Puzhal, Cholavaram and Chembarambakkam, jointly stored only 4.26tmcft, against their full joint storage capacity of 11.057tmcft.

Thanks to a thus far failed monsoon, the current storage is less than half of corresponding year’s 8.99tmcft. As on Friday, Chennai recorded a 32 per cent rainfall deficit in the current NE monsoon season, whereas the city received six per cent more rain for the entire season last year.
However, the predictions of weathermen are not promising. They forecast no bountiful rainfall in the coming four weeks. Given Chennai metro water’s monthly requirement of around 1tmcft, the existing storage would hardly last beyond the next four months maximum.

Like delta farmers, people in the state headquarter would also feel the pinch of a parched Cauvery in a few months as Veeranam, the sole ‘insurance’ that comes to Chennaiites’ rescue when the city reservoirs dry, has not been fed adequately by Cauvery river this year.

On Friday, Veeranam had a meager 0.392tmcft. Chances of consistent supply from Veeranam lake early next year would be bleak if Cauvery river were not in a spate in December or immediately thereafter.

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