Chennai, a city located in the southern part of India and with a population of 4.5 million, is going through a crippling water crisis due to poor rainfall and soaring temperatures.

Reports said the demand for water in India's sixth largest city has gone up by 47 percent from 750 MLD in 2008 to 1,100 MLD in 2018. A local media report said metro water supply has declined by 8% from 650 MLD to 600 MLD. The most startling fact is that ground water is running at an all time low because of absence of rain. Moreover, reservoirs are also drying up.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami attributed the ongoing water crisis to zero rainfall. Palaniswami said people are using tanker-supplied water for drinking and washing as ground water levels have declined. According to the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Chennai Metro), two reservoirs - Cholavaram and Redhills, which cater to Chennai’s water needs are dry. And Poondi reservoir water level is very low.

Offices, schools and restaurants have been forced to close. Sekhar Raghavan, director, Rain Centre in Chennai told Deccan Chronicle that water resources of 23 districts in the state between 2009 and 2019 have depleted to alarming levels. Raghavan said the solution lies in rainwater harvesting. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) describes rainwater harvesting as the collection and storage of rainwater that runs off from roof tops, parks, roads, and open grounds etc. The water runoff can be stored and recharged into the groundwater.

“Rainwater harvesting was mandated in 2001 by the late chief minister Ms. Jayalalitha. Sec 215(a) of Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act, 1920 and Building Rules 1973 makes it mandatory to provide rainwater harvesting systems in all newly constructed buildings,” Raghavan explained. “Despite being the first state in the nation to bring about such a law, Tamil Nadu is facing an acute water crisis because of the callous attitude of the people.” Raghavan said Chennai’s water scarcity is man-made."

The Guardian said families are managing through three pots of water for all their drinking, cooking and washing needs.  india drought An Indian farmer herds his sheep on the dry bed of a river at Bibi Nagar in Nalgonda District, some 40 kilometers from Hyderabad, March 23, 2015. Photo: NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

In 2016, the state of Tamil Nadu (Chennai is its capital city) faced the worst water crisis in its history. This was due to failure of northeast monsoons. As a result the state was declared drought-hit and protests broke out, which led to the death of 144 farmers.