As Chennai reels under the searing heat, the water crisis that is getting worse by the day is only making the impact more severe and now large IT Parks and office complexes that house thousands of employees are forced to take measures to bring down water consumption to a bare minimum. Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) also known as Rajiv Gandhi Salai is Chennai’s IT capital with hundreds of large IT parks and tech firms dotting the stretch.
Lakhs of employees contributing to the Information Technology and Information Technology enabled services sector work in this line. But with the capability to house more and more employees in workspaces and work floors comes the requirement of copious amounts of water supply for keeping the air-conditioning plants and other facilities round-the-clock.
IT firms are exploring and implementing a range of measures to help tide over the current crisis. These include using disposable plates in the cafeteria, procuring packaged drinking water, closure of non-critical washrooms and toilets, restricted availability of water in wash basins among others.
Some firms are shifting to Air cooled chillers from water cooled chillers, closing down the gym and arena in order to reduce water consumption by the cooling plant. Sowmya, an employee of a firm in Sholinganallur said, “Recycled water is being used for flushing toilets and watering the plants, additional equipment has been installed in every tap to restrict the water flow and all restrooms are fitted with these."
Besides the measures taken the company has also been sending weekly awareness emails informing about the current crisis and providing conservation tips, she added. “Wash basins where we wash out utensils after lunch in the cafeteria have been closed, only the hand wash is open and that too with the restricted flow,” said Krupa Ranjani an employee working in ELCOT SEZ.
Rahul Pareek who works for a firm in Kandanchavady said, “the new floor that was inaugurated at our premises uses automatic taps and even on existing taps the water flow has been decreased to ensure judicious use”.
Though Chennai has endured and overcome the peak summer heat all-through May, there seems to be no let up in the temperature in June with mercury hovering around 41 C. With wells, reservoirs and water sources in the vicinity of the city drying up, options are running out and all that the city can do is to hope for rains.