Water and the People of Chennai of Class 8

The city of Chennai, earlier known as Madras, is the largest city in South India, with a population of about six million. It was built in the early 18th century by the British colonists and was developed by them as a major port and a hub for trade and commerce.

Today, it is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and a bustling metropolitan city attracting business investments in manufacturing sectors and also in Information Technology and Biotech areas. But up until December 2004, it was also a city with a major problem.

The city of Chennai lies on the east coast of India. However, it lies in the rain shadow region of the southwest monsoon and has to depend on the fickle north-east monsoon for its water supply. No major rivers flow near the city. Thus, Chennai has had to live with the problem of water shortage from way back in the late nineteenth century.

In recent years the problem had become more acute with some areas of the city having to go without water supply for three days at a time during the harsh and humid summer months. The city with its teeming population required about 750 million liters of water per day and was having to make do with a mere 250 million liters. Long hours of waiting for a few liters of water at unpredictable and sometimes inconvenient hours from the community water sump seemed to be the norm everywhere in Chennai.

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