The sun has been playing hide and seek with the clouds for the past few weeks. This month, so far, the city has received 55.8 mm of rainfall, which is more than the average of 43.3 mm in June. The rain brought down the maximum temperature from the average 36 degree Celsius to 34 degree Celsius on many days.
According to S.R. Ramanan, Director of Area Cyclone Warning Centre, Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai has been experiencing unstable weather due to a combination of factors. The development of convective clouds generated in the evening, after intense heat in the day, causes rain, he said. The city has also been experiencing rain due to local thunderstorm activity. This weather is expected to be like this till the end of this month.
However, even a light shower has proved to be enough to result in water stagnation on several roads, including Vepery High Road, Tiruvottiyur High Road, Broadway, Ganesapuram, Valluvarkottam High Road, Sterling Road and in Choolai.
With the black topping on many roads having been removed using cold milling method for relaying, two-wheeler riders say they find it more difficult to negotiate these stretches during rain.
During the monsoon, subways including those in Ganesapuram, Vysarpadi Jeeva, near RBI, Thillai Ganga Nagar and those in T.Nagar get flooded. A flyover proposed at Ganesapuram to tide over the problem is yet to materialise.
L. Sudha, who lives off Bazullah Road in T. Nagar, said “Invariably, there is knee-deep water during the rains and we have always faced the problem of rainwater mixing with sewage.”
R. Prasad, a resident of George Town, said sewage mixing with drinking water was a major issue in many parts of north Chennai. “Even during the summer, we have sewage overflowing on the roads and at times reverse flow into buildings. Clogged drains and pumping stations that do not function properly are reasons for this. Repeated complaints have not borne fruit,” he said, adding that the situation would be worse during north-east monsoon.
The Chennai Corporation and the Chennai Metrowater are gearing up to meet challenges of inundation, blocked stormwater drains (SWD) and sewer lines and drinking water contamination.
According to senior Corporation officials, of the total 931 km of SWD, 463 km have already been desilted. Tenders have been prepared to desilt and repair 333 km of SWD and canals. Various important links in the network, including at Kellys, a SWD that cuts across Poonamallee High Road near Ripon Building and one on Tiruvottiyur High Road would be desilted. New link drains are being constructed in Nungambakkam, Ganesapuram, T. Nagar and Purasawalkam, the officials said.
The Metrowater has intensified joint patrolling with the Corporation to ensure supply of safe drinking water. It has also doubled the number of water samples collected daily for bacteriological analysis to 120. Apart from this, each day about 400 samples are taken for testing physical parameters, including total dissolved solids and 2,000 samples checked for chlorine levels, said officials.
Sewage pumping stations are also being overhauled to prevent failure of the system during monsoon owing to additional load.
Though mosquitoes are not yet a problem in the city, residents of suburban areas where spraying and fogging are hardly done find it difficult to cope with. “We cannot sleep without mosquito repellents. Whenever there are power cuts or low voltage, mosquitoes seem to come in battalions,” said Visalakshi Rajaraman of Poonamallee.
Municipalities, on their part, are trying to take up work to equip localities for the monsoon. According to a senior official of Ambattur Municipality, fogging and spraying of larvicides for mosquito control are being carried out regularly.
“We are also desilting canals to prevent logging. Localities such as Korattur, Padi and Mogappair face water stagnation as they are low-level areas,” the official said, adding that the focus would be on prevention of stagnation and conservation of rainwater.
Officials of the Madhavaram Municipality said work on an underground drainage project was on. “We have almost completed work on a canal project at a cost of Rs. 1 crore. This year, we expect that even localities such as Thanikachalam Nagar that usually face problems during the monsoon, will be better equipped,” an official said.
(With inputs from K.Lakshmi, Deepa H Ramakrishnan, Meera Srinivasan and R.Sujatha)
Keywords: Chennai weather