Water now more expensive than petrol

The amount of water being piped into the city has fallen to less than 10% of its original supply.

NEARLY four years ago, the south Indian city of Chennai (capital of Tamil Nadu) was under water. The worst floods in living history – the result of cyclones from the Bay of Bengal – had reduced this manufacturing and services powerhouse of eleven million to a standstill as brackish water lapped at the wheels of the planes parked at the Anna International Airport. The human tragedy was substantial, with over 500 deaths and some 1.8 million people displaced.

Today, the city is wracked by an unprecedented drought: the result of over 200 days without rain. Chennai’s four main reservoirs are now bone dry. The ancient lake of Chembarambakkam – a perennial source of water – is also fast disappearing.

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