Mini power pumps remain dysfunctional for weeks, eateries draw from receding groundwater levels and municipal supply equals about five potfuls — residents of suburb believe they are encountering the worst summer yet but municipality official says better days ahead
CHENNAI: The residents of suburban Anakaputhur believe they have seen the worst of this summer with dysfunctional mini power pumps, receding groundwater levels and municipal water supply that arrives only twice a month. “We are only able to collect five pots of water every time the municipal water supply arrives. We have a 200-foot borewell but have been unable to draw water due to the dip in groundwater level,” said 70-year-old Asraf Ali, a resident for more than 30 years.
When residents run out of water, they queue up at the nearest of the 210 mini power pumps in Anakaputhur. However, residents said that many of them remain broken for weeks before they are fixed by authorities.
Nirmala, who lives on Devaraj Street, said: “The pump in our street has been lying broken for almost a month now and we go to the one on Pandiyan Street when we need water.”
However, according to Rajesh R, the one on Pandiyan Street was itself broken until recently. Where there are working pumps like near Amman Kovil, said Suresh, a resident of Mettu Street, water was drawn by eateries in the locality, leaving little for residents.
“If we place our pots at 3 in the afternoon, our turn comes at 8 at night. There are people who come to fetch water during midnight because there are fewer people then,” said Narayanan S, who lives on Gopal Chetty Street, where about 80 families depend on water from the pump supply. Even with the mini power pumps, 117 hand pumps, five private tankers and two municipal water tankers from the municipality, residents are forced to turn to bubble top water cans or private tankers for water.
“We use at least three cans that cost `25 each every week for our family of five. Those who can afford it, buy water from private tankers that charge Rs 1,200 a load,” said S Dhanraj, who owns a grocery store.
This, when neighbouring Alandur, that comes under the corporation limits, receives drinking water supply almost every day.
However, a senior Anakaputhur municipality official said that though there had been a crisis weeks ago, the condition was improving steadily.
“Chennai Metro Water could supply only 5-6 lakh litres of the 15 lakh litres demand every day. So we are now augmenting the supply with Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage board, bringing the total supply up to at least 10 lakh litres daily.”
The official also added that replacing motors for the mini power pumps was a time-consuming affair but the authorities were now maintaining a reserve for these motors, fixing pumps priority wise.
Just no way out in searing conditions
When residents run out of water, they queue up at the mini power pump in Anakaputhur. Nirmala, who lives on Devaraj Street, says: “The pump in our street has been lying broken for almost a month now and we go to the one on Pandiyan Street.”