Chennai is the fourth largest city in India, the capital of the State of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as “Gateway to South India.”

It is the city where there are seven large temples in Dravidian style, one of the oldest churches- St. Mary’s Church, the famous Wallajah Mosque, built by the nawab of Karnataka.

Chennai city is rich in education, finance, and tourism.

So how does such a traditionally, culturally, financially rich city falls prey to water scarcity, water scarcity in Chennai, which is infamously known as the “2019 Chennai water crisis.”

Reasons behind water scarcity in Chennai

Chennai had it coming for much longer. Both natural causes and human contribution are behind it.

The water scarcity in Chennai is another proof that when human beings mistreat nature, it fights back. It always had and always will.

Natural causes behind water scarcity in Chennai

Chennai is situated in the cyclone-prone area of the Bay of Bengal. Also, the rainfall in Chennai is uneven.

Climate change plays a part in the water scarcity in Chennai as well. There had been three seasons of failed monsoon too in Chennai in the years of 2016, 2017, and 2018, which created more problems for the inhabitants of Chennai as they relied on the desalination plants and water piped in from hundreds of kilometers away and groundwater.

The groundwater source is dependent upon the rainwater.

Man-made reasons behind water scarcity in Chennai

Man-made reasons are the main reason behind the water scarcity in Chennai. The man-made nature pays him back through his actions, making the 2019 Chennai water crisis inevitable.
One of the main man-made reasons is the city’s poor planning. The unchecked and barbarous urbanization caused the water bodies of Chennai to disappear.

Most of the water bodies disappeared by the year 2016. Anything unplanned and short-sighted future course of effects made the water scarcity in Chennai even more evident. Automobile factories were built upon the reservoirs. Some wealthy men exploited water resources too for their benefit.

As a result, the groundwater source was drained twice that the rainfall replenished it. And the most shocking thing is that the government let it happen.

The pollution caused by the inhabitants of the city contributed to the water scarcity in Chennai as well.

The water in the river was so polluted that it couldn’t be used for drinking or usage. Although the government represents State, it is made of a group of people, human beings.

So their action counts as man-made reasons as well. The mismanagement by the government in managing the water resources contributed to the water scarcity in Chennai as well.

Effect of water scarcity in Chennai

The draught and drained groundwater left the reservoirs in Chennai completely dry.

The taps of water were all dried out also. As a result of water scarcity in Chennai normal life of people were affected.

School, industries, tourism, everything was shut down. As a result, people became dependant on water from tankers.

Poor people even couldn’t afford many alternatives. Outrages and protests broke out as people realized the situation.
The water scarcity in Chennai is a lesson for the whole country, the whole world.

It is an example of what can happen when we mess up with nature. It shows us why we should save water, not waste it, preserve the water resources.

It shows us why we shouldn’t exploit nature and why we should teach every child why the other name for water is life so that the “Day Zero” when there was no water left in Chennai doesn’t happen again in Chennai or anywhere else.


Mike Brown has done Masters in Hydrology and Water Management. He loves coffee and likes to lecture people on climate change. He plays PUBG when he is not working.

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