What happens when a megacity runs out of water? | The Stream

One of India’s largest metropolitan cities is almost out of water. For many of the nearly 11 million residents of Chennai, everyday life has been put on hold and instead become about finding enough water to drink and stay clean.

Long lines are common at the water tankers brought in by the government each week. A special train is also bringing in some 2.5 million liters of water from a dam 250km away. But real relief won’t arrive until November, with the beginning of the monsoon season.

Climate change and a booming population have taxed Chennai’s water supply. But most are blaming poor government management for the current crisis.

Chennai’s woes are being watched closely in India, where 21 major cities are at risk of running out of groundwater by next year, according to a government think tank. The situation also serves as a cautionary tale for other countries that are water-stressed, including Morocco, Iraq, Spain and South Africa.

We’ll take a look at Chennai’s water woes and ask what the world can learn from this crisis.

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