Central Maharashtra or Marathwada may be staring at its worst water crisis in a decade, with just 8% water stock available in the region’s 814 dams and reservoirs. Worse: Just about a month of rains is left.
The situation across the state may be no better, as water stock in the state’s reservoirs and dams has dropped to the lowest point of its average in recent times.
The districts of Beed, Osmanabad and Latur are the worst-hit, owing to poor rainfall and crop loss. These three districts have also witnessed the highest number of farmer suicides in the past few weeks. Parts of Nanded, Jalna and Aurangabad are also facing water scarcity.
The government has been sending tankers carrying drinking water to these districts. If the monsoon does not improve in the next week, the administration fears it will have to send in more tankers.
At present, 1,901 tankers carry water to different parts of the state. Of these, 868 go to Beed, Osmanabad and Latur.
The water scarcity has also hit cattle. The state government announced a week ago that it will start cattle camps. “The cattle camps will start functioning once the administrative procedures are done. But making water and fodder available for camps will be Herculean task,” said an official from the relief and rehabilitation department.
“Wells and ponds are running dry and people are running from pillar to post for drinking water. We have been facing drought for the past ten years. Only 2013 was an exception. Some six suicides are registered every day in Beed district,” said Rajabhau Deshmukh, the vice president of the Bhartiya Krushak Samaj.
At this time last year, Marathwada had 16% water stock. In 2013, it was more than 40%.