In Chennai’s IT corridor, We Don’t Get Water 365 Days a Year

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Cameraperson & Producer:
Smitha TK

I am a resident of the Central Park South which is on Elcot Avenue on the IT corridor of Madras, euphemistically called OMR, technically called Rajiv Gandhi Salai.

We’ve been here for about 7-10 years and the water crisis that we are facing is a routine matter for us because we have been buying water 365 days in a year.

We get small quantity of water twice a day. So, what we do is... when the water comes, we store it.

In my house, it’s just my wife and me. Since we are only two people our requirements are obviously much lesser than the others so, we store about three (to five) buckets of water everyday.

Also Read: Water on Tap for Hardly an Hour: Chennai Dealing With Crisis

Cooking and other activities have to be done during this period only. My wife does the cooking at around 5:30 pm. So that by evening, when the water comes, all the vessels can be quickly washed and put into the right place before we go anywhere else. Even the man who brings drinking water can does not come regularly... only once a week and that also only one can per head, like he doesn't have that much water.

The water crisis is a daily affair because the government of Tamil Nadu has not given us any piped water connection.

There are about 172 apartments here and close to 500 people reside in them. We require about 1,00,000 litres of water in total and today, we are buying only about 40,000-50,000 litres a day.

A united resident association front has helped the people discuss and agree upon terms that are economical and environment-friendly.

And even that supply is so erratic as we rely on private water contractors. The cost of private water tankers can go up to Rs 1,500.

Earlier, a tanker cost about Rs 1,000 but the rates increased as the contractors say they have to go a longer distance now to collect water.

Sometimes they have to travel as much as 80 km up and another 80 km down to fetch water and each private tanker does five loads or more.

Also Read: We Only Get Water for 15 Minutes in Our Society in Mumbai

At the society, we have one well and a borewell that supplies a little water. Both these put together give us about 3,000 litres of water in an hour and we cannot run them for more than three hours. Which means that we can barely get 9,000 litres in a day, which is the requirement for just 45 people or 10 houses, you could say.

All the greenery you see is watered by recycled water, thus spending zilch on thousands of litres of freshwater every day.

But with barely enough water for our daily needs, wondering how we are maintaining such a green garden?

We have a sewage treatment plant system. All the water from flushed toilets collects in a tank, which is then pumped into an aeration tank. The processed water then goes to a settling tank, where it's passed through filters. It is then run through a chlorine chamber before it is sent to a collection tank.

This water takes care of the total requirements of toilet flushing, gardening, cleaning of open areas. About 60,000-70,000 litres per day is required for this purpose and since we use processed water, we don’t need to buy for this.

The Sewage Treatment Plant that recycles the water which is then used for toilets and watering plants.

Also Read: Is a Water Tap in My Locality Too Much to Ask for?

Now Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has said that the government will not take care of the apartments. The water they get will be given only to the poor people. If you book a tanker at 6 am by 6:15 am the booking is closed. They supply one (corporation water) tanker per society. The next day, you cannot make another booking. You have to wait for at least 15 days to make the second booking.

We think as a community, we should strengthen FOMRRA, the Federation of OMR Residents Association, and approach the state.

We will draft a mail and every resident should send the same mail to the chief minister and voice our problem.

As narrated to Smitha TK.

Also Read: Chennai Water Crisis: How Did it Get So Bad & What is Govt Doing?

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