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Chennai, an Indian City of Nearly 5 Million, Is Running Out of Water

The water is almost gone.

Satellite photographs reveal the stark shrinking of one of the main rain-fed reservoirs that serves Chennai, one of the biggest cities in India.

In one image, taken by satellite on June 15 last year, the city’s largest reservoir, Lake Puzhal, resembles a dark blue ink-stain amid a densely crowded cityscape.

In another, taken on Sunday, exactly a year later, the lake is a small grey fraction of its former self.

One of the city’s other important reservoirs, the smaller Chembarambakkam Lake, is also running dry.

Chennai, a hot, muggy city on the Indian Ocean coast, should be in the throes of the monsoon by now. But the rains are late across India. And Chennai has received virtually none of the rain it should have seen by now.


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