The lack of rainfall over the past one year is not only drying up lakes but also having a severe impact on the groundwater levels in the city.
According to the data of Chennai Metrowater, the water table across the city dipped from nearly one metre to three metres below the ground level last month, compared to December 2015. Chennai is facing a threat of drought due to poor rainfall as a deficit of 23 per cent was recorded in 2016.
Residents of various parts of the city are also feeling the pinch with the water level in open wells declining steadily. Residents of Ambattur said though the water has turned saline, most of them depended on groundwater for purposes other than drinking water. However, the water table now stands at 3.49 m below ground level. This is nearly three m lesser than the level in December 2015.
The water table in areas such as Anna Nagar, Tiruvottiyur, Teynampet and Tondiarpet too has witnessed a sharp dip of nearly 3.5 m below ground level. Groundwater has plummeted to four metres below ground level in areas such as Royapuram and Valasaravakkam.
Officials of the Chennai Metrowater said groundwater levels fluctuate through the year. Moreover, it varies according to the soil condition. Over-exploitation of resources, particularly in congested areas with less recharge, was also another reason for plummeting groundwater levels.
Metrowater monitors the water table through a network of 145 observation wells spread over 426 sq. km in the city. Thiru.Vi.Ka. Nagar, Perungudi and Adyar zones have better groundwater resources compared to the other parts of the city as the dip in the water table is within two metres.
With dry weather likely to prevail for some more days and water resources fast drying up, Metrowater has asked the residents to use the water that is being supplied for drinking and cooking alone. Besides judicious use of water, it is time for reuse and recycling of grey water, Metrowater has pointed out
Chennai’s supply reduced
As the storage of Chennai’s reservoirs is only 14 per cent, the authorities have brought down the quantum of water supply in the city from 830 MLD to 550 MLD. They are banking on the arrival of Krishna water from Andhra Pradesh and if 2,000 million cubic feet (tmc ft) is realised, Metrowater can sustain 550 MLD supply till the summer with the support of other sources such as desalination plants and groundwater, an official in the water agency said.