SOURCE: BBC

DATE: June 18, 2019

SNIP: The southern Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras) is in crisis after its four main water reservoirs ran completely dry.

The acute water shortage has forced the city to scramble for urgent solutions, including drilling new boreholes.

Residents have had to stand in line for hours to get water from government tanks, and restaurants have closed due to the lack of water.

The city, which, according to the 2011 census, is India’s sixth largest [population: 4.6 million], has been in the grip of a severe water shortage for weeks now.

As the reservoirs started to run dry, many hotels and restaurants shut down temporarily. The Chennai metro has turned off air conditioning in the stations, while offices have asked staff to work from home in a bid to conserve water.

Vinoth Kaligai, the general secretary of an IT workers’ association, confirmed that some firms had told employees to stay at home. “But homes are also running out of water, so what are we supposed to do?” he added.

The situation has also prompted clashes to break out between residents. Last week, police arrested a man for stabbing his neighbour during a fight over water-sharing in the neighbourhood.

“The destruction has just begun,” an official said. “If the rain fails us this year too, we are totally destroyed.”