Come summer, water and its availability gains priority among city residents.

Individual water consumption usually increases from March to May. According to water managers, the consumption increases from 95 litres per capita per day (lpcd) to 100 lpcd in summer.

The dependability on different sources, including packaged drinking water and groundwater, also increases during these months.

To cater to this need, Chennai Metrowater is gearing up to maintain its daily supply. The storage level in the reservoirs used for city supply is less by 1.6 thousand million cubic feet now compared to the same period last year.

However, officials of the water agency are confident that they would be able to offset the shortfall with water from Kandaleru reservoir and Veeranam tank.

The reservoir at Poondi has realised 1.87 tmcft of water since February when the water supply from the neighbouring State was resumed. Uthukottai, the inter-state border of Kandaleru Poondi Canal, received 650 cubic feet per second on Saturday from the neighbouring state, said Shiv Das Meena, Metrowater's Managing Director.

Water storage at Veeranam tank is also slightly better than last year with 1.06 tmcft. On the supply reduced to 575-590 million litres a day from 640 mld since January, officials said it was one of the steps to save resources for summer. Metrowater has been regulating the pipeline valve operations to facilitate equitable water distribution to all consumers this summer.

More people seem to have started opting for packaged drinking water recently, going by the increase in demand. A.Shakespeare, General Secretary of Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association, said there has been a rise in demand by 15 per cent in March.

“We usually sell more during mid-April when the demand increases by 20 per cent. But, this year people already have started feeling the heat. Increasing awareness about the product is also a reason,” he said.

The sale of packaged drinking water touched the maximum of 40-45 lakh litres a day during peak summer. This year, the unit holders expect sales to soar to 55 lakh litres per day.

The growing competition among the unit holders numbering nearly 220 in and around the city has helped in providing competitive price.

Of late, small scale industries have also gained impetus in bottled water distribution, which was dominated by major players. The sales of 1 litre pet bolttles have shot up three fold from 25,000 litres a day. Delivery of better quality products was cited as the reason. In suburbs where water supply is erratic residents plan to make do with groundwater and private tanker supply.