A train carrying millions of liters of water rolled into the southern Indian city of Chennai for the first time on Friday, providing desperately needed relief to residents who have been facing an acute water shortage for the past month.
The city, Tamil Nadu’s state capital and one of India’s biggest metropolitan areas, has been crippled by the shortage brought on by poor water management, last year’s disappointing monsoon and continuous population growth.
Dozens of locals gathered at the train station to watch state officials inaugurate the “special service,” which will help to alleviate Chennai’s struggle in maintaining a steady water supply.
People cheered as the 50-wagon locomotive, decorated with flower garlands, made its way into the railway yard where 2.5 million liters of water will start being decanted.
Harmandar Singh, a senior official for state services, officially greeted the service. He said there had been no significant rains for 180 to 190 days, and that last year’s failed monsoon had contributed to the problem.
“We are using the existing water judiciously,” Singh said.
For the past several months, city residents have been forced to rely on government and privately run water tankers that sweep through the streets throughout the day.