[Update] Chennai’s Worst Water Crisis Ever

CHENNAI – As far back as World Water Day on March 22, news agencies were aware of a water crisis of potentially epic proportions brewing on the east coast of India in Tamil Nadu.

India Spend published a story on April 3 indicating that fully 42 percent of the land in India was under drought conditions. The future was not predicted to get any better.

As far back as World Water Day on March 22, news agencies were aware of a water crisis of potentially epic proportions brewing on the east coast of India in Tamil Nadu.

The National Institute for Transforming India had indicated that although water management has been improving across the board, “the country faces significant risks” for half of the country’s population and agricultural regions. More than 600 million people were in peril of having no access to water.

Perhaps because campaigning for the national elections was in full swing, reporting on the impending crises by media was held to a minimum, most likely based on political correctness.

In addition to the recent Missions Box News articles, “Pray for India’s Worsening Water Crisis” and “Water Crisis Grips Chennai,” we have received a report from national workers in the area describing the crisis first hand.

The coconut trees and teak wood trees are getting withered. The cattle have no grass. The wells are dried up.

Most of the water plants in Chennai are closed as the groundwater has dried up. Currently, we are finding difficulty to get water even for drinking purpose.

[We] have to depend on government water tanker trucks for water, but the trucks come once in two days to provide water. One family needs a minimum of 15 pots of water, but they are not allowed to take seven pots of water.

Pray that God would show mercy on His people and send rain in Chennai.”

Some relief came last Friday as a train filled with 2.5 million liters of water arrived in Chennai. Nonetheless, The Indian Express reported that the daily water deficit in Chennai is “at least” 200 million liters.

The trains will continue to pump, treat, and transport water 135 miles to Chennai for the next six months. Despite being inundated with massive flooding in 2015, the city’s reservoirs have run dry.

Authorities have also announced a plan to construct 10,000 check dams across the state during the current fiscal year. The program will employ MNREGA [1] workers to build the check dams along floodplains, water channels, and streams to retain water and recharge the groundwater table. It is a monumental task at the very least.

Readers should note another subtle crisis brewing in India’s most productive state as a result of the lack of water. The public is looking to the authorities to provide water and, in some cases, blaming officials for the lack of it. On the other hand, officials are blaming the public for “over-exploitation” of water supplies.

Pray for the people caught in the crisis. To us, it is news. To them, it’s a matter of life and death.


[1] The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

To read more news on the India Water Crisis on Missions Box, go here.