Work from home, IT firms tell employees as Chennai battles water shortage

Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu. Aquatic Complex Chennai pool swimming pool

The city is facing drought for the third year in a row.

With reservoirs supplying water to Chennai drying up and ground water levels plummeting in absence of rain, water has become scarce but the government is taking necessary steps to supply drinking water to people, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Tuesday. Demand for water in the city has gone up by 47 per cent in the last decade from from 750 MLD in 2008 to 1,100 MLD in 2018.

Stating that the regular water supply from Chennai Metro Water Board has come down from 830 million litres a day (MLD) to 525 MLD now, TN Hariharan of CWSSB told Indian Express that the crisis will be managed "until November".

The government is managing the demand for water by opting for supply through tankers, besides identifying alternatives like quarries to meet the demand. And not just this, all the four months of the Northeast Monsoon season underperformed in Chennai. Although, Southwest Monsoon, is not the main rainy season for the state, but it has been awful till now in the last 15 days.

PTI quoted industry sources as saying that quite a few top companies along Old Mahabalipuram Road, also known as the "IT corridor", and the Siruseri IT Park had verbally asked employees to work from home. "We have really rationed water use and have enough, for the moment, for the ward toilets and the toilets in OPD [the out-patient department] but it's becoming alarming", said Dr Prabhu Manickam, an orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital.

"At least 20 per cent of the workers are asked to work from home in some of the small and medium companies".

"For example, if there are 10 bathrooms on a floor, only two have been made available for employees due to water shortage", he said. He added that some of the companies have put a halt on the recruitment process for the time being. They hope that if IT companies can collectively represent water woes to the government, some action could be taken mitigate the problem. Some of the hotels are using traditional banana leaves or paper plates as there is no water to wash conventional steel utensils.

"A three-bed operation theatre alone requires 6,000 litres of water daily".

Residents from prime localities like Triplicane, Alwarpet and Mylapore have started shifting homes in search of water.

"Only rain can save Chennai from this situation", an official told BBC Tamil. Over the years, the automobile producer has implented water management practices at the factory in a bid to conserve water.

The News Minute reported that the bench lashed out at the AIADMK government for serious mismanagement of water resources and waiting till the last minute to spread awareness about rainwater harvesting.

For its customers "dry wash" vehicle cleaning service has been brought back in the service stations, so that customers can get their cars cleaned through an eco-friendly process which can save up to 120 litres of water for each auto.

The Met office also said till Monday, light to moderate rainfall was likely to occur at isolated places over Erode, Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Salem, Theni, Dindigul, Kanyakumari, Shivaganga and Pudukottai districts, all in western and central Tamil Nadu which benefit from South West Monsoon.

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