Chennai found itself in the grip of an acute water crisis last summer. The city saw a deficit monsoon the previous year and the reservoirs had all but run dry. Thus began a period of acute hardship for Chennaiites that lasted months. Long queues for tanker lorries across neighbourhoods became a common sight. Families survived on a mere three pots of water a day and women bore the brunt of the crisis, having to forego time at work or school to gather water. The crisis was however not without warning. Signs of scarcity had been looming for a while, but little heed was paid to these.
Following an extended northeast monsoon this year, water levels in the reservoirs and groundwater levels have been on the rise, showing promise. But despite fairly generous rains this year, a certain anxiety over water has gripped Chennai.
How will the city cope in the summer to come and could a similar situation of scarcity arise again? We checked in with Pradeep John, popularly known as Tamil Nadu Weatherman.
Pradeep has become a household name in the state with his accurate forecast of the weather, with updates from his social media channels being treated as the final word on whether there will be rain or shine on any given day. A self-taught weather blogger, he is very meticulous with his methods and translates the complexity of weather events for the layman.
In this chat, Pradeep talks us through the amount of rainfall that was received by Chennai last year during the South West and North East Monsoons, the storage levels in the reservoirs and the water that is expected from neighbouring states and most importantly, on whether Chennai has enough water for 2020!
He also has a pertinent question for citizens, asking, “How long can we keep drilling borewells and sucking water from the ground?”
Watch the exclusive conversation with Pradeep John: