Chennai's growth threatened by water shortages
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Chennai's growth threatened by water shortages

By Live Mint calender  07-Aug-2019

Chennai's growth threatened by water shortages

Dozens of billion-dollar companies. Thousands of high-paying IT and manufacturing jobs. Luxury apartments towering over the Bay of Bengal. Chennai has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but it’s out of water, threatening to put a brake on all that growth.
In Chennai, a coastal city of about 10 million, rapid development and rampant construction have overtaxed a once-abundant natural water supply, forcing the government to spend huge sums to desalinate sea water, bring water by train from hundreds of kilometers (miles) away and deploy an army of water trucks to people whose household taps have suddenly run dry.
The water shortfall is disrupting business at all levels, from the gleaming, 45-kilometer (28-mile) IT Corridor to the neighborhood tea shop. Some workers have been asked not to report to the office while others have had to give up a day’s wages to wait for the erratic water truck that makes daily deliveries.
The Madras Chamber of Commerce said that results from a survey sent to its 700 members in May found that most industries in the city’s diversified economy have been affected by the crisis, which has caused disruptions in production schedules, higher operation costs and a reluctance to invest in expansion because of the uncertainty about future water supplies.
Companies are paying 30% more for private supplies sourced from farther outside Chennai and delivered by water tankers, which require dedicated workers to manage. Others have set up their own water-recycling systems, said chamber Secretary-General K. Saraswathi.


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