Harapriya Akella, 26, a web developer, moved to Chennai from Mumbai last year. But her first summer in the city is proving to be a shocker. She believes harvesting rainwater alone can prevent a future crisis
I shifted from Mumbai to Chennai last year and was shocked to see the stark contrast between the two cities with regard to water supply. In Mumbai I was assured of running taps 24×7, but here, water is rationed. So, every day, water is supplied during fixed hours. We get water thrice a day: from 6 am to 9 am, 12 pm to 2 pm and finally from 6pm to 9 pm.
I thank my stars that I work from home, and I am there to store water, whenever it is supplied. However, I have many neighbours and friends, who don’t have the option to be able to work from home, and I see them suffer. Either they miss out on the precious water supply or they have to wake up early to fill up buckets and whatever utensils they can get their hands on. After working late at night, they end up compromising on their sleep. If someone has to go on a school run to drop their children, or is engaged in some other errand, they lose out on precious time.
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We are a family of only two people, so we don’t face as many difficulties. My heart goes out for larger families, especially the households that take care of the elderlies or the sick. The water crisis has hit them hard.
People here are thirsty for solutions to solve the crisis. While many people have become a pro at time management, there are some who are failing miserably at it. My husband often shares stories of how, many of his friends in the IT sector are being asked to work from home because the offices are unable to handle the water shortage.
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Rainwater harvesting, however, has shown some promise in mitigating the crisis. As per news reports, the Sabari Terrace Complex in Sholingannallur in Chennai managed to collect 1 lakh litres of water in just three hours of rains spread over three days. According to the residents, rainwater harvesting has considerably reduced their dependence on water supply from the authorities.
Just imagine how much more we could do if we put our heart and soul into rainwater harvesting and other ecological solutions! These residents used a very simple method of collecting water, which means that any society or group of people can do it. It is much cheaper than buying water from tankers. Besides, the water from rainwater harvesting is clean and free from waterborne diseases.
This is a citizen’s initiative, with a little push from the government, things can get much better. This is my first Chennai summer, I hope the next one is better.