With the 2015 floods still in the memories of Chennai, the coastal Indian city is working to become a water secure and resilient city.
Chennai is home to 7,600,000 people and counting. Located in the Bay of Bengal on the east coast of India, the city is no stranger to climate risks. In December 2015, Chennai faced the worst flooding in over 100 years. Hundreds of people were killed; millions were left without clean water, and business operations ground to a halt.
Such events are expected to get both more frequent and more severe in years to come.
The worsening flood risk – from both increased rainfall and potential sea level rise – will hit the city’s most vulnerable hardest, with the poorest people who live in informal settlements most a risk. And while flood continues to pose a risk, water scarcity has also become a daily concern for the city’s growing communities.
Intensive ground water extraction has reduced the level of the water table, while the old leaky water distribution infrastructure is wasting this precious resource.
Faced with these risks, the city has begun to invest in resilience. Through an awareness and education program, businesses and citizens are encouraged to save water, while the city is also investing in the construction of a new storm-water management system to collect and utilize storm-water run-off, and is investing in making periodic repairs to the water distribution network to minimize leakage.
These actions are the start of Chennai’s journey to becoming a water-secure and resilient city.
Updated September 2017.