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Photo: ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images

A delayed monsoon season has left millions of people struggling to access clean water in Chennai, India, while alternative sources and methods prove costly and ineffective, CBS reports.

What's happening: All four of the primary reservoirs the city depends on are virtually dry, resulting in approximately 4 million people becoming dependent on makeshift wells that produce largely non-potable water. Environmentalists are also concerned that thousands of newly dug wells could dangerously disrupt the region's water table.

  • Areas without wells are mostly reliant on trucked-in water instead. While government trucks are covering some of the effected area, they are inundated with long lines and limited supplies. Private producers are seeking to respond to the rest of the demand, but vendors are drastically hiking prices in the face of consumers' desperation. In April, delivery for a private truck of 3,200 gallons would have gone for roughly $22, but now goes for around $85.

Why now: An analysis of 200 years' worth of monsoon data revealed that over the past 9 years, Chennai has experienced more days with heavy downpours and less consistent rainfall, leading to faster runoff and a less manageable flow into reservoirs, CBS reports.

  • A report from last year conducted by the Indian government's research institute NITI Aayog cautioned that 21 Indian cities, including Chennai and New Delhi are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020.

What to watch: Protests are ramping up on the issue, with more than 500 people arrested on Wednesday for confronting the Indian government over what they've characterized as mismanagement, CNN reports.

  • K. Palaniswami, chief minister of Tamil Nadu state where Chennai is located, acknowledged on Tuesday that the crisis could persist for another 5 months, per CBS.
  • However, reports of rain on Thursday in India's 6th largest city were greeted with delight — the first rainfall in about 190 days, the New Indian Express reports.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

4 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.