India's 6th largest city just ran out of water

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Chennai’s 4 main reservoirs are completely dry.


First of many, a vision of our future. Which sucks, FWIW


How about Mars, I heard there might be water on Mars :roll_eyes:

When water’s gone, it’s gone. You can try digging new holes, but if the situation is so bad to do that, you’ll never get enough for all those people. Maybe other nations can pitch in, but even then at the rate we’re going it’s a spinning plates game.


It’s more that the cheap water is gone.The city is right on the Bay of Bengal and it’s not as though the water has escaped into space; but there’s no way most of those affected are going to be able to pay desalination prices for water; and shipping from the nearest less-affected area isn’t going to be much, if at all, better; though it’s faster to improvise on short notice.

Hopefully they’ll be able to identify some distribution efficiency and reclaimation gains, and substantial ones, or the situation is going to deteriorate further: even if they get fantastic rain you don’t rebuild an aquifer you’ve been strip-mining in one rainy season; and you probably aren’t going to get some decades of optimal rain.


I suppose praying for rain would not be appropriate…


I actually live in Chennai–I’m here right now, as we speak. Frankly, praying for a good monsoon this year is about all the recourse left, so go right ahead. It’s not just the major weather pattern disruptions that emerge from carbon emissions, it’s also the overdevelopment that is making resilience in the face of those disruptions impossible. The two mutually reinforce each other. What we’ve seen over the last decade is rapid and massive overdevelopment–IT parks, high-end apartment complexes, huge malls–being built over what was once marshland, delta, and soil basins, in areas where ten years ago there was no city, just mangroves. As a result, all the places that were once natural storage containers for rain have disappeared. During the 2015 floods it meant that all of these buildings were hugely damaged and people had to evacuate because there was nowhere for the water to go. What it means now is that those same areas have no reservoirs of water whatsoever. And, as ever, it’s the poor who are most hurt and driven to desperation. Every time I drive out on Old Mahabalipuram Road (which, despite its name, is a major highway), I see throngs of people gathered around water truck tanks trying fill up a few buckets before it runs out. So yeah, pray if you think it will make a difference. At this point nothing else will.


Check it out if you get a chance:


There really isn’t a shortage of water in the coastal city Chennai.
A river named Cooum runs through it.
In my lifetime it supplied the city with potable water.
A study of the river, undertaken as part of a World Bank-funded project, shows that it is 80 percent more polluted than treated sewer.

Chennai massively lacks infrastructure. Not for lack of money but fucks given.

(Can anyone find a picture of an empty Chennai swimming pool? Try it.)


Is it at all possible that humanity has overbred like rats. Among many things we may need to consider is world wide massive education regarding birth control especially regarding dwindling resources for everything we as humans need. No it’s not a quick fix but its about time we as humans start to think about it. Churches will whine, conservatives will twitch and quiver but we’re overloaded on this planet and not making good choices.


Birth control access a/o education is not the factor most strongly associated with decreasing birth rate. That would be education and opportunities for women and girls. Give a woman a function other than baby factory and the birthrate drops below replacement, as is seen in every developed economy on the planet. IOW, treat them like fully realized and functional human beings.


OK that makes sense too, especially given the type of people who traditionally repress women…I’m looking at you religion and republicans. And yes other assorted assholes as well.


We sometimes forget that William Gibson’s famous quote, “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”, cuts both ways. It’s not always about wealthy people getting the goodies first. If the future is sucky, the poor (especially those in the global South) will get the lion’s share at first, but eventually it’ll come for everyone.


In poorer - especially agrarian - places it is less religion (but it plays its part) but more economics. Subsistence living on small parcels of land needs more hands to work the land, and more kids to take care of you when you are old and cannot. Plus survival-to-adult rates in such poverty are lower so reproduction in excess ensures spares/replacements. Plus there’s a bias towards wanting boys to take over the farm and marry a bride who brings a dowry. So keeping trying until boys are produced is also a factor.
Education provides alternatives to subsistence living and improves the local economy - a virtuous circle.

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For anyone struggling to imagine that, you don’t have to. Just read The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi.


With so many people from Africa coming across the Med trying to get into Europe, I am often reminded of a Sunday Times Magazine in-depth article and associated front cover from maybe 15 or more years ago (cannot find online).
Basically, the premise was that a large part of Africa’s population would be headed for Europe when their water ran out, which given the expanding Sahara at the time, together with over-population, climate change in general, etc., etc. was just a question of time.
It has slowly started to become presciently true in one respect, but not specifically because we have the water they need - yet.

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Well, that might be specifically accurate, but the fact is that underlying a large amount of the migration is, in fact, climate change leading to lack of water. Famines fed by droughts leading to political instability leading to civil wars and uprisings, leading to a refugee crisis (or set of crises) out of proportion to the actual lack of water, but rooted in that issue. It will get much worse before it gets better, and yes, the poor will get hit hardest and quickest. I will hold judgment on how hard we in the richer world will be hurt, but it will not leave us unscathed.


So this is no all-of-a-sudden water shortage that the urban planners had not considered might happen eventually. The benefits of the ever-expanding economy seemed to outweigh these impacts, at least to the decision-makers. You know, an amenity (bribe) here and there may have helped speed up the expansion. Even so, it is not unthinkable that Chennai could work its way through this shortage by mandating water use reductions and enforcing them, and by investing in infrastructure, of course. Dancer, I am praying for you and your people, as well.


Thought about that as I read about desperate people with empty containers clustering around water tankers.


My dystopian riff on Gibson’s maxim is that the future’s already here, it just hasn’t screwed everyone equally yet.


I hear that Flint, MI has some water for sale…

In all seriousness, what really sucks about this is that it strikes people differently based on economic standing. The poors fill up buckets of god-knows-what, and the top-earners buy bottled. I always thought it was going to happen in the 'states soon but it appears the entire midwest will be flooded by then so we’ll be okay on the water front (not so much on the polar-vortex-earthquake-sea-level-wild-fire-hurricane-front). Man, I love New England (where we whine about snow).