Chennai Buzz: Water crisis turns graver | Metro timings extended | Farming in Red Hills

What are Metro's new timings and why is it making staff unhappy? What is the latest update on the water situation in the city? Will farming in Red Hills impact water supply? Catch the answers in this recap of news making headlines in Chennai over the last seven days.

The quest for water deepens

With storage levels at all the reservoirs in the red, Chennai Metro has started drawing from the dead storage from Redhills. The situation is so grim that the water board has started tapping the minimal storage of 328 million cubic feet (mcft), which is only 10% of its capacity of 3,300 mcft.

Chembarambakkam reservoir is nearly bone dry and withdrawal is possible only for 10 days, given the current situation. Metrowater has already started pumping 30 mld of water from Cholavaram lake since early this week and this is expected to continue till mid-April. Meanwhile, the Water Resources Department has started the desilting exercise in Cholavaram lake to enhance storage by 250 mcft.

Meanwhile, a study by researchers at Anna University has revealed the shocking presence of microplastics in Puzhal reservoir. The Institute of Ocean Management at Anna University has also decided to examine the presence of harmful substances in the other three reservoirs that supply water to the city — Chembarambakkam, Poondi and Cholavaram.  The Metro Water department has also approached the institute to conduct a thorough study of all water sources.

Source: The Hindu | The New Indian Express

The wait gets longer for Metro tanker supplies

With the water situation in the city getting worse, the demand for tank supply at doorsteps has shot up. Currently, it takes an average of 20 days from the date of booking a tanker lorry for Metro water to be supplied at the doorstep.

Metro water officials maintain that the delay is due to the quality of water and the low rates compared to private water supplies. People in large apartment complexes and gated communities book the tanker in advance to meet the demand. The 700 tankers in contract with Metrowater, with a storage capacity of 6,000 litres, 9,000 litres and 16,000  litres make 350 trips daily and the charges are Rs 475, Rs 700 and Rs 1,200 respectively.

Source: The Times of India

Red Hills lake becomes a farming bed

The farmers along Red Hills reservoir have converted parts of the dry lake bed into farmlands to grow spinach and other greens. The land has been tilled using tractors or bullock and temporary wells have been dug to draw water from the subsoils and the nearby patches of water.

With no one to monitor, many people are busy cultivating and selling the produce at T Nagar and West Mambalam. Though this activity may not affect water supply to the city, there is a concern that fertilizers used in farming may contaminate the water in the long run.

Source: The Times of India

Chennai Metro extends timings, employees unhappy

Chennai Metro has announced the extension of timings, both in the morning and late evenings. The trains will run from 4.30 am until 11 pm, starting mid-April. Once the services are extended, there will be one train every half hour during early morning and late night hours. According to CMRL officials, this will help passengers taking the early morning flights/trains and returning late evening.

However, this move has come in for strong criticism from the employees, citing manpower and maintenance issues.

Parallelly, it is reported that there has been a dip in ridership — from 90,000 people to 85,000 a day. Chennai Metro’s inability to put in place last mile connectivity in all its stations is cited as a major reason for the dip. The newly-opened stretch from Washermanpet to AG-DMS doesn’t have minibus, share autos or share car services.

Source: The Hindu | The New Indian Express

[Compiled by Sandhya Raju]

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