In a tragic misjudgment, a usually parched city set about conserving its water when it should have steadily released it
The Adyar in Chennai is not a major Indian river. On ordinary days, it is an anaemic rivulet contaminated with sewage that ekes its way to the estuary at the Bay of Bengal. The river cuts the city in half: Government and old Madras to the north, residential and tech Chennai to the south. The river bends a few times in the city—at Jafferkhanpet, Saidapet, Kotturpuram and Adyar—as it languorously makes its way to the sea. Near each of these locations is a major road bridge across the river.