Water crisis grips India's Chennai

Hotels, restaurants close as taps run dry amid city's heatwave, with temperatures soaring over 40C.

    Chennai, one of India's largest cities, is in the grip of a crisis as water supplies run low. Water levels in four of the city's main reservoirs have fallen to one of their lowest levels in 70 years.

    Hotels and restaurants have been forced to close their doors because of a lack of water, saying they will reopen only when the rains arrive.

    Residents have been forced to install their own unauthorised pumps or wait in long queues for hand pumps. Locals told Reuters news agency they get two containers of water after standing in a queue for hours.

    To make matters worse, Chennai is currently in the grip of a heatwave, with temperatures soaring over 40C. This is 5C over the average June temperature, and the extreme heat is expected to stay over the next few days.

    Even at night, the temperature remains above 30C, which gives residents little chance for their bodies to cool off.

    The 4.9 million residents of Chennai are desperate for rain, but the heaviest precipitation doesn't fall during the summer.

    Chennai is sheltered from the southwest monsoon that affects most of the country at this time of year, instead, its heaviest rains happen in October and November.

    That's a long time to wait for a city struggling to quench its thirst.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies