The depleting water stock in the states’ dams, and the rising number of tankers supplying water to rural areas, say it all about the bleak situation Maharashtra is facing.
The average water stock in the dams has dropped to 18%, less than what it was in the same period last year and much less than in 2012.
The rapid fall in the water stock in the dams has forced the government to deploy more water tankers in the rural areas. There are 2,520 tankers engaged in suppling water this year, more than double the number – 1,122 – deployed last year during the first week of June.
As many as 2,791 villages and 2,134 hamlets are reeling under acute water shortage and are dependent on these tankers for their needs. The eight districts of Marathwada are the worst-hit, as the water storage in the dams in the region has dropped to 5%. More than 70% of the total tankers deployed are operating in this region.
“The revised forecast [of a deficient monsoon] by the IMD has come as a shocker for us. The situation is likely to be worse than during the 2012 drought,” said an officer from the relief and rehabilitation department of the state government.
Revenue minister Eknath Khadse said that the government has taken all precaution to mitigate the effects of a delayed monsoon.
He said apart from creating a buffer stock of seeds and fertilisers, the farmers are also being made aware of the precautions to be taken to avoid crop loss.