Restaurants go traditional way to save water in parched Chennai

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, IndiaWritten By: Sidharth MPUpdated: Jun 28, 2019, 02:44 PM IST

Food being served on banana leaf. Photograph:(WION)

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The water crisis has also impacted the supply of vegetables to Chennai

The hotel industry of Chennai, a city in southern India, is going the traditional way to deal with the severe water crisis.

Meals are being served on banana leaves or stainless steel plates that are topped with banana leaves, with notices requesting customers to cooperate put up at restaurants.

"Of late, we have started using plantain leaves for all the dishes that we serve. For main course, we give them a single plate topped with a plantain leaf and request the guests to not ask for additional plates when they order new dishes," Anand Krishnan, Director of restaurant chain Namma Veedu Vasanta Bhavan, told WION.


(A notice pasted at a restaurant in Chennai)

"We were a society that was more used to natural products, natural packaging and much more. From leaf-based to stem-based packaging material, it's all available. There used to be communities that used to thrive on an economy based on this. It's time we revived all of it," Arun Krishnamurthy, an environmentalist, told WION.

The water crisis has also impacted the supply of vegetables and even the plantain leaves that are used to top the plates, hence resulting in the rise of inputs costs for hotels.

"If the same scenario prevails, we will be forced to increase the prices a little bit. For 25,000 litres of water we now pay Rs 6,000 whereas it cost only Rs 1500 a few months back. Prices of vegetables too have gone up by around 20-30%. If things worsen we may also have to cut down on our menu and reduce the number dishes that we serve," added Anand Krishnan.

This week, the city has been receiving intermittent spells of rain, but it barely helps meet the daily water requirements. The rains may have provided temporary relief, but the crisis is far from over. In fact, the water crisis in Chennai garnered international attention after Hollywood superstar Leonardo Dicaprio shared a news report on the city's water woes on his Instagram page and wrote "Only rain can save Chennai from this situation".