July has begun but the demand for packaged drinking water continues to soar in the city. Manufacturers say the high demand is due to the searing heat that continues even past summer.
Unlike previous years, when the demand for water, which usually peaks in April, comes down by July, canned water consumption has increased this time around. The demand has gone up by 15-20 per cent compared to April.
On Friday too, the mercury level remained stable at 39.1 degree Celsius in both Nungambakkam and Meenambakkam, three degrees above average for the month. Lack of southwesterly winds that usually prevail around this time has resulted in the hot weather.
Residents said they are purchasing more bubbletops as it was readily available to compensate the gap in piped water supply and decline in ground water table. V.Rajan, a resident of Padi, said his family now uses packaged drinking water for cooking purposes as piped water is not adequate. “We have started buying three or four bubbletops a week instead of the usual two,” he said.
Members of the Greater Chennai Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association said last April, Chennai consumed around 80-90 lakh litres of water. But, this July, the consumption of packaged drinking water rose to nearly 1.10 crore litres.
E. Saravanan, the association’s joint general secretary, said more people in the suburbs are turning towards packaged drinking water. About 55 per cent of consumers are in the extended areas and city fringes.
This year, about 70 more units have been started in and around the city to cater to the growing demand.
While groundwater is the primary source for the industry, manufacturers say the decline in the water table has not affected sales.
The association’s founder A. Shakespeare said the manufacturers have to spend few additional hours in drawing water. But, it was not a major issue as each unit draws only four or five lorry loads of water daily.