Water shortage crisis in Chennai is not only affecting people, but animals as well. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, that is home to more than 2,500 animals, has its water supply cut-off for more than a week now.
The primary source of water for the zoological park situated in Vandalur is the Palar river which originates in Nandi Hills in Bengaluru and flows into Tamil Nadu. The water supply from this river was cut by the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TNWSDB) last week and has not been restored yet.
Shanmugam, assistant director of the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, said that the TNWSDB did not even inform them before cutting water supply to the zoo.
"The supply was cut-off without any warning by the authorities. They did not give us any notice of this action and just stopped the water. We found out only when water stopped flowing through the taps," he told The News Minute.
According to a report by Deccan Chronicle, the zoo requires four lakh litres of water per day and the Board used to supply them two lakh litres each day.
"The water supply was cut off from the Palar river because of the metro line construction work thatâ€™s happening on the roads. Thatâ€™s why theyâ€™ve blocked the pipelines from the river," alleged Shanmugam.
Ideally, the water that comes from the river can provide about 20 lakh litres of water. With the supply cut-off, Shanmugam says that the park is at a loss.
So how is the park handling the water shortage? Is it equipped to deal with it?
There are 13 open wells, five borewells, a 60-acre lake and 20 ponds in the zoo. According to Shanmugam, this should suffice for a few days, but not more than that. The main problem, he says, is that the groundwater is depleting due to the scorching heat in Chennai now. The need for free flow of water from the Palar river is needed now more than ever.
"There are 400 workers in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park right now. They work shift-wise and each takes on the task of feeding the animals and washing them. They also wash and clean the zoo so that the environment is hygienic for the animals and visitors to the park, as well," he states.
As of now, Shanmugam says that the officials have told them that the water will resume approximately within two to three days. However, the park has not received an official confirmation yet by the concerned authorities about when the water will be released in free flow.
A TNWSDB engineer however told DC that the water supply to the zoo had been suspended because of a breach in the pipeline near Chengalpet. "We are attending to it and the water supply will resume in a couple of days," the engineer told the publication.