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India’s sixth biggest city Chenni facing acute shortage of water

New Delhi: India sixth largest city, Chenni, is facing severe water shortage as the reservoirs supplying water to the city have dried.

One of the floor of the Chembarambakkam reservoir is cracked open, dry and sun-baked. Owing to it, about 25 kilometres away in Chennai millions of people are running out of water.

An activist Jayaram Venkatesan said that Chembarambakkam and the three other reservoirs that have traditionally supplied water to Chennai were nearly all dry, leaving the city suffering from an acute water shortage

Srini Swaminathan said that he had been living there since 1992 and never seen anything like this before.

Due to an inability to collect sufficient rainwater combined with low groundwater levels, the Tamil Nadu state government has been struggling to provide water to residents.

With the reservoirs dry, water is being brought directly into Chennai neighbourhoods in trucks. Every day, hundreds of thousands of residents have no choice but to stand in line for hours in soaring summer temperatures, filling dozens of cans and plastic containers.

Suresh Subburaman, a resident of Chennai and owner of the Nivis Kitchen hotel, has been struggling to keep his business afloat.

“We are open and we are somehow functioning. But we are running at a no-loss, no-gain situation. This is our only business. We have no other option. We have to run it,” said Subburaman.

“Earlier the water would come every day at home. Now, we get it every three to four days. We store the water in a small tank or 20-liter plastic pots at home,” said Subburaman whose home is in Egattur neighborhood on the southern outskirts of Chennai.

Senthilsaravanan, another hotel owner and resident, said: “In (the) Chennai area, hotels and restaurants have shut down because we are not getting sufficient water and there is high demand.”

The private tankers come from the outer areas of Tamil Nadu state which is not suffering shortages. But the demand is so high they cannot supply on time, Senthilsaravanan said.