Water shortages in India
People across India are facing critical drought conditions and water shortages. As of 25 June, 2019, nearly 65 percent of the country's reservoirs were running dry. One of the worst affected areas has been the west-central state of Maharashtra, where six of the 17 reservoirs are dried out.
This image shows Puzhal Lake, the primary rain-fed reservoir in Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. It was acquired on 19 June, 2019, by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. Puzhal Lake (also known as Red Hills Lake) is one of four main reservoirs that serves the city of Chennai. In total, the four reservoirs were only at 0.2 percent capacity, as reported on 21 June, 2019.
The water shortages are partly caused by low rainfall over the past few months. Chennai has been devoid of rain for nearly 200 days. In 2018, the city experienced one of its weakest northeast monsoon seasons, which runs from October to December and provides a large portion of the area's annual rainfall. Additionally, the southwest summer monsoon season from around June through September has been delayed across India and unable to deliver substantial rainfall to Chennai yet.
Chennai has been struggling to meet water demands for the past few years. The National Institution for Transforming India (a government think tank) reported Chennai, India's sixth-largest city, was one of 21 cities that could run out of groundwater by 2020. Many news reports state the water shortages are due to low rainfall but also water management.
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Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.