When Chennai was trying to combat water crisis a few months back, Indian Railways lend a helping hand by starting a water train from Jolarpettai to Chennai. Since three months railways have been incessantly helping parched Chennai in the hour of need. The water train made its 159th trip (last journey) on Tuesday, 08 October 2019 to the capital city of Tamil Nadu. The train operations have been stopped from the past few days as Chennai is seeing splashes of rain with which the groundwater has been recharged. Along with this, Chennai is also receiving water from the Krishna river.
Fifty horsepower (HP) capacity pumps are fitted at Villivakkam Station so that, the process of transporting water from the wagon gets completed in four hours. The water is then carried through a conduit line to Kilpauk waterworks which is 3 km apart. Later the water is treated, purified and supplied to the people living in North and Central Chennai.
On every trip, the 50-wagon water train brought 2.75 million litres water from Jolarpettai. The train service started with its first move on July 12, 2019. Water wagon used to start from Jolarpettai at 7 PM and reached Chennai at midnight. In total, the train has brought 440 million litres of water and hence helping the city during water crisis.
Drought Hit City: Chennai
It was in June 2019 (peak summers) when Chennai faced an acute shortage of water as the four reservoirs supplying water to the city dried out. The metropolis city was facing a daily water deficit of around 200 million litres. As per the reports of Central Water Commission, Chennai has faced a rainfall deficit of 41 per cent. Prior to the water crisis, residents in Chennai were largely dependent on water tankers and the every day supply of water by the municipal corporation. The situation has got so bad that the prices of packaged drinking water have gone up four times the actual price. Several eateries got shut down and the whole city was filled with flyers and banners of saving water.
How did Chennai run out of water?
Long back, Southern Metropolis used to be one of the water surplus city. As Chennai has judiciously used old water conservation system, it had around 24 water bodies and Buckingham canal since the time of Britishers. It has been a decade since Chennai has been facing water shortage and lost 33 per cent of wetlands. At the same time, Chennai also lost 24 per cent of its agricultural land which is important to enhance the groundwater table.
According to a study conducted by the Centre for Climate change, the reason Chennai ran out of water resources is due to the construction of flyovers, highways, roads. Such projects were largely built on reclaimed water bodies. In addition to this, there have been reports of illegal encroachments on Pallikaranai Marsh, Pulicat Lake, Kattupalli Island, Madhavaram and Manali Jheels to increase the urban clusters. Thereafter, the Tamil Nadu government appealed railways to help in supplying water to the city. More than 100 inlet pipes were installed at the railway tracks to transport the water. Moreover, Drinking water was also supplied from Vellore to Chennai for six months. It is high time that people should wake up and realise the importance of water and stop creating concrete jungles.
Indian Railways has proved to be a boon as it helped Chennai in hard times. Kudos to Indian Railways!! What are your views on such steps taken by the Ministry of Railways? Let us know in the comments below. Book Your online train tickets through Trainman app and get exclusive cashback upto Rs 250 by opting PayPal as a payment option. Download Trainman App and check PNR Status of your booked ticket, Running Status, Train between station and a lot more.