The current level of the Red Hills reservoir has gone below sea level.

 Chennais major reservoir dries up as city faces worst water crisis in 14 years
news Water crisis Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 10:16

After 2003-04, Chennai is facing a similar situation again as the Red Hills reservoir, which is one of the major sources of water in the city, has dried up.

The Public Works Department told The News Minute, “The total capacity of the Red Hills reservoir is 3,300 mcft and total depth in the reservoir is 21.2 feet. The current water level is below sea level.”

Currently, the Chennai Corporation has been drawing water for the city from Red Hills reservoir and a quarry near Chembarambakkam lake. "Though Red Hills reservoir has dead storage, the PWD has been drawing about 21 cusecs from the reservoir," said an official.

The New Indian Express reported that the reservoir had earlier gone dry in 1983 and then in 2003-2004. In the first week of November 2015, the reservoir had about 20 million cubic feet of water.

An official from Metro Water department told TNIE that their only hope is the desalination plant which provides about 180 MLD of water and also groundwater sources.

Reportedly, Metro Water has already halved their supply of water to the city. They are expecting to maintain the city’s water supply at 470 MLD.

The extraction of groundwater from Metro Water has been a concern expressed by farmers. 

About 200 bore wells along with Veeranam Lake and Neyveli Lignite Corporation mines are supplying about 115 MLD of water. 

After taking 4MLD of water from Porur Lake and 30 MLD of potable water from 22 stone quarries in Sikkarayapuram, Metro Water is not planning to take water from Eramaiyur quarries in Mudichur, reported TNIE.

Other major reservoir in the city, including Chembarambakkam lake have low levels of water. 

"Chembarambakkam lake has about 186 mcft water. The actual storage capacity of the reservoir is 3,645 mcft. The total depth of the reservoir is 24 feet but currently, it has a depth of 3 feet," said an official.

Moreover, even the Cholavaram reservoir has gone dry.