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For a pot of water (.hindu)

The series of reports, “MMC hostels go without water” (July 30), “A moi virunthu in Washington” (July 30) and “5 more quarries to be tapped for water” (July 29, all Tamil Nadu editions), show that there is a gross mismanagement of traditional water management systems in Tamil Nadu and Chennai city. It is a paradox that after the massive flood of 2015, the city is now in the grip of a punishing drought that continues well into 2017. And it is unlikely that the monsoon in 2017 will help the city tide over the crisis. As a region wholly dependent on a good northeast monsoon, planners cannot afford to be complacent. Most of the innumerable dams and irrigation channels in the State remain bone dry or have reached dead storage levels. One cannot blame a poor monsoon season either.

Tamil Nadu is a top groundwater exploiter whereby the extraction of groundwater outstrips recharge. Therefore the conservation of groundwater needs to be given topmost importance. There needs to be constant vigil over and maintenance of small water bodies which are in abundance across the State. This should be carried out through the year and not be announced as a hurried response to a prevailing drought situation. Waterbodies should be viewed in a comprehensive manner which is extremely important in Chennai. Waning interest in rain harvesting in Chennai is most unfortunate.

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