Parched manufacturing city in India brings in water by rail

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In this Wednesday, July 17, 2019, photo, workers fill wagons of a train with drinking water piped in from the Mettur dam on the Cauvery River, at Jolarpet railway station, 216 kilometers (135 miles) from Chennai in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. On its daily sojourn, the 50-tank train carries two and a half million liters of drinking water, a small but critical source for Chennai’s water board, which is employing an army of trucks to deliver 500 million liters of water a day since desiccated reservoirs and fast-diminishing groundwater forced the city to ration public tap water to millions of users for months. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

JOLARPET, India (AP) — Amid the green Yelagiri hills of southern India, the train inches along the tracks, carrying what has become precious cargo: drinking water bound for Chennai, India’s parched Motor City.

Demand for water in the manufacturing and IT hub on the Bay of Bengal far outstrips supply, forcing authorities to take extreme and costly measures to serve the city’s 10 million people. And so, every day, the train sets out on a four-hour, 216-kilometer (134-mile) journey, its 50 tank cars carrying 2.5 million liters (660,000 gallons) of water drawn from a dam on the Cauvery River.

The train is classic Indian “jugaad,” the Hindi word for a makeshift solution to a complicated problem.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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