The Stream, December 2, 2021: Chennai Flooding Leaves 20,000 In Relief Camps


  • Heavy rainfall in Chennai, India leaves thousands in relief camps.
  • Water shortages continue in Tanzania’s largest city.
  • Honolulu authorities investigate complaints of a fuel odor in residents’ tap water.
  • A polluting mine in Colorado has been served with a cease-and-desist order.

California officials announce long-feared cuts to a state water distribution program amid ongoing drought. 

“With the conditions we’ve been seeing, and the reservoir levels where they are, I don’t think we are surprised.” — Aaron Baker, chief operating officer of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. State officials announced on Wednesday that the State Water Project, a system of dams and canals that helps provide drinking water to 27 million people in Southern California, will deliver no water next year. The move will force urban centers to increase conservation measures and find alternative water sources.


In Case You Missed It:  

Utah’s Water Dilemma – Record-breaking drought along the Wasatch Front forces tough decisions about water supply. 

What’s Up With Water—November 29, 2021 – This week’s episode covers water shortages in South Africa, unprecedented flooding in South Sudan that is superseding vaccine drives, and a battle over renewable energy in New England.

Monsoon Rains Inundates Chennai

Monsoon rains pummeled southern India this weekend, leaving over 20,000 residents of Chennai and surrounding cities in relief camps.  Officials estimate that as many as 209 cattle and over 5,000 chickens perished in the downpour, with more than 1,000 houses damaged. The deluge came at the end of an already record-setting month of rainfall: the region received 882mm (35 inches) of rain during the month of November, the second highest monthly total since 2015.



October, which usually brings short rains to Tanzania, has instead brought record high temperatures and little rainfall to the east African country. Now, the Ruvu River—the main source of water of its largest city, Dar-es-Salaam—has a deficit of nearly 100 million liters (26.4 million gallons). The city’s water rationing, which it expected to last for a single day, has continued for a month.


Honolulu’s Department of Health has received over 100 complaints of a fuel-like smell emanating from residents’ tap water. Officials said on Tuesday that testing revealed no contaminants in the water up to five parts per million, but that the possibility of contamination could not be excluded.


Colorado water quality officials have issued a cease-and-desist order to a mine whose heavy metal waste products are leaking into sources of drinking water. Officials ordered that the owners of the Caribou gold mine build new systems to contain and clean up waste, and threatened steep fines for further violations.

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