Chennai hotels, hospitals hit hard by water crisis

Some restaurants have decided to stop serving meals in the afternoon due to scarcity.

June 15, 2019 01:30 am | Updated 07:27 am IST - CHENNAI

The city is finding it difficult to deal with the crippling water crisis and many sectors such as hotels and healthcare have been hugely affected.

The crisis is so acute that some hotels in the city have decided not to serve meals for lunch to reduce use of water. The hotels have put up boards seeking customers’ cooperation for water conservation and have conveyed their inability to offer meals for lunch.

In the past few weeks, water expenditure of hotels gone up by 25% as private tankers limited their supply. Buckets and mugs have replaced taps in several hotels due to the worsening water scarcity.

Reduced production

G. Charles Vasanthakumar, a consultant for several restaurants, including Mainland China and Adyar Ananda Bhavan, said hotels had reduced production and some of them were reducing their operating hours.

M. Ravi, president, Chennai Hotels Association, said most hotels had switched over to banana leaves from stainless steel plates. “We are also planning to offer finger bowls to wash hands instead of buckets to save as much water. Hotels with up to 100 seats capacity need a 12-kl tanker load of water daily. There is much delay in getting water supply,” he said.

Tamil Nadu Hotels’ Association has advised its members to maintain rainwater harvesting structures to become more self-sufficient. The association president, M. Venkadasubbu, said several hotels were serving half a glass of water to reduce wastage of drinking water. “Banana leaves have also turned costly. The expense towards water is likely to climb by 50% in the next few days. We are planning to represent to the State government to establish more desalination plants,” he said.

Restaurant owners said they could not pass on the cost burden to the consumers as that would impact their footfall.

Sandesh Reddy, chef at Sandy’s, said water shortage had affected business and overhead costs had gone up. Balaji Sadagopan, co-founder and chief operating officer, Chai Kings, said: “We have our outlets at IT parks and in some places they have advised us to use paper cups and plates as they are struggling to source water.”

All establishments falling under the Madras Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, including hostel campuses, get 40 water tankers daily to tackle the shortfall. “We have closed redundant taps to prevent leakages. For watering plants, we are using water cans instead of hoses,” said R. Jayanthi, dean of MMC and RGGGH.

RO plants

A doctor said many private hospitals had reverse osmosis (RO) plants. They also purchase, he said. “We have cut down water consumption. For instance, instead of using two taps in the operation theatre, we are using one tap with RO water supply,” the doctor said.

Sujay Sambamoorthy, chief executive officer, Parvathy Hospital, said in a press release that they were conserving water in every possible way to ensure there was no shortage for patient consumption. Operation theatres too should be readied for surgeries as sufficient water was required to sterilise equipment in the OT. The hospital had bought additional water tankers and had dug one more borewell, he stated.

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