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Today it's Chennai, tomorrow….?

Today it
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Though in the past Chennai and other places in Tamil Nadu used to have water scarcity this time the state and especially the capital region is now...

Though in the past Chennai and other places in Tamil Nadu used to have water scarcity this time the state and especially the capital region is now experiencing one of the worst water crises of the century.

With a heavy population and the urban agglomeration spreading far and unavailability of the elixir of life can just be imagined. People have started moving from water scarce areas to other places.

Kilometre long queues have become a regular sight to get a bucket of water supplied by the water and local body authority. Private tanker water suppliers are looting the people like anything.

Offices and schools function in shifts and the plight of hospitals is inexplicable.

Today it is Chennai, tomorrow it can be any other. Who is to be reproached? The political leaders who promise to catch and give us the moon? The local body which notoriously ignores people's pleas?

The concerned authority that kept on postponing what has to be done for yet another tomorrow that never materialises for them? Aren't we all responsible for such crisis?

We talk about water management and keep on talking as it is a much-talked-about subject these days and do nothing. Very sad that such issues aren't taken seriously though we regularly get genuine and credible scientific data that show growing water poverty.

It is disheartening that proper lessons have not been imbibed. Every year during the monsoons we helplessly watch excess rainwater flowing to the sea rather than making arrangements to collect them and avoid water crisis later.

We never bother about keeping water bodies clean and most often use them as garbage dump yards. Riverbanks are encroached and we turn lakes and streams into dry lands to construct residential areas and flats.

The Chennai water crisis has to be taken as a forewarning and rather than blaming one another let everyone think seriously in taking necessary measures.

Proper studies and use of water conservation techniques, recycling and reuse of effluents, mandatory installation of water harvesting methods, maintenance of groundwater extraction, water collection in lakes and ponds, desalination plants, stopping encroachment of water bodies can to an extent help avoiding severe water scarcity.

The Modi government has to be lauded for setting up a ministry of water power to tackle water conservation and management which can also seriously look into the severe crisis.

The Centre and the states should work hand in hand to mitigate the woes of the people and take all necessary steps on a war footage to see that such crisis do not happen in future or at least minimise it.

M Pradyu, Kannur

None is above blame for this mess

Thoughtless planning and indiscriminate construction on lake beds has fast depleted water sources in Chennai where water scarcity has been already posing a big threat whenever monsoon fails.

When heavy rains flooded the city for two years in a row has terribly damaged the civic infrastructure and brought miseries to the people, sadly the government of the day did not bother to set right the matter on priority like calling for tough measures to preserve or conserve water, repairing of storm water drains and take up desilting of lakes around the city.

This only added further woes to the residents. Despite knowing the fact that underground water is depleting fast and its quality deteriorating due to scanty rainfall and indiscriminate digging of borewells, it is a sorry spectacle that government took no short or long term concrete actions to tackle the problem of water shortage on a war-footing.

As non-charging of aquifers has further led to pathetic situation in the city with citizens spending exorbitant rates to get private tankers, the poor were left to their fate.

In addition, wastages of water due to inefficient plumbing systems and leakage/ruptured pipelines are also major points of concern, what is missing is lack of commitment on the part of both government and water board authorities to draw up a strategy to augment water from different other sources to meet the immediate demands of people who are been made to suffer endlessly without succour.

The fact that water is fundamental in sustaining lives and continues to be the need of every organism, dearth of water is not always the reason for water stress as arguably abundance of fresh water that is accessible for human use is not tapped due to poor management.

Consequently, heavy dependence on rains to quench the thirst is the reason the city has been facing water crisis whenever rains fail or insufficient in a year.

Needless to say, politicians having already taken a plunge in to stir water conflicts to safeguard their interests, it is imperative that government at least now open its eyes and takes path-breaking reforms by seeing that city's regulators, urban planners and hydrologists coordinate in order to bring about a robust water supply system for equitable distribution.

In a nutshell, while government is duty bound that water is distributed evenly and properly to the citizens, at the same time, it should also not hesitate to take strict action against people who waste the precious resource because every drop counts a lot.

K R Srinivasan, Secunderabad

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