Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is a buzzing city with a population of around 9.1 million. Right from when the Summer season set in, the city has been affected by severe water scarcity. Most residents in Chennai are now sitting at home and leaving their taps open, waiting for the daily ration of water to come by. Chennai receives most of its water supply from the Poondi Lake, Sholavaram Lake, Red Hills Lake, Chembarakkam lake and from fresh water reservoirs like Veeranam, to cater to the daily needs of the people of Chennai. The city requires about 1200 million liters of water per day to meet its daily needs. The rationing of water soon reduced the supply to 880 ml/d which further reduced to 550 ml/d in the recent days.Chennai has desalination and reverse osmosis plants situated in different parts of the city. Apart from this, it also relies on the water supplied from various states and districts. Though the state government has been taking measures to keep Chennai hydrated, the residents still live in the fear of facing an imminent drought.
Some of us would've heard about the water crisis that Cape Town had faced the previous year. Some of the techniques that the people of Cape Town used to get past the water crisis, were so ingenious that I was starting to wonder why Chennai mustn't follow the same. Cape Town had announced a Day Zero, symbolizing the day in which the water supply of the city would reach zero. The government kept reminding the people about Day Zero through advertisements and announcements, and this helped the people stay on vigil and become self aware about conserving water.
The city rationed its water effectively and cut down the supply of water to swimming pools and other leisure activities that was not found necessary for survival. The municipality publicized its drought awareness campaign by providing weekly updates on the regional dam levels and water consumption levels and kept signs that projected the number of days that the city had left, before it reached Day Zero. Government and Civic organisations published water saving techniques and the citizens used social media to provide tips on the ways to conserve water.
New water-use tariffs were implemented and that prompted businesses to enable their employees and customers to save water, wherever possible. Offices introduced new challenges called the 'Dirty Shirt' challenge to see who could go without washing their work shirt for the most number of days.
Cape Town, as a whole, rose to the issue at hand and pushed the arrival of Day Zero indefinitely. If they can do it, then I am pretty sure the residents of Chennai could do it as well. We all need heightened awareness about the situation in hand and must work towards conserving the resource that is fast depleting.
Ration your daily supply of water effectively and always prefer bucket baths to shower baths. Avoid taking too many baths within a day and prefer to wash your jeans only after wearing it for at least three to four times. Do not use too many unnecessary utensils for cooking, as that'll take up more water to clean. Recycle the water used in the kitchen for watering plants. Keep updating yourself on the amount of water available for the city and educate your close circles on the importance of conserving water. May we all rise to the occasion like how Cape Town did, and get through this summer without having to face a drought.