The situation in these parched villages is worse this year as compared to last year. By the end of June last year, 306 villages and 506 hamlets did not have water for drinking. The government had then deployed 283 tankers there to provide drinking water.
This year, with the monsoon arriving late and as much as expected, the public wells and taps have gone dry in 401 villages and 989 hamlets in the state. The state government is operating 360 tankers to quench the thirst of the residents of these villages and hamlets.
According to the met department, 13 districts, mostly from the western Maharashtra, have over 75% rainfall deficiency for the month of June.
At present, the highest number of tankers (142) are currently deployed in north Maharashtra. Of these, 65 are in Nashik district alone. In western Maharashtra, as many as 161 villages and 653 hamlets have taps running dry. The residents are entirely dependent on the water tankers started by the respective district administrations.
Satara district has highest number of water tankers (55) in operation now. A senior official of Satara district administration said the reservoirs have dried up this year. “We had to acquire the wells and borewells to fill up water tankers. Most of the tankers have been deployed in the rain shadow areas of Man, Khatav,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
The official said the district administration has been asked to ensure every drop of rainwater is conserved. “We have begun work to dig up pits and build barrages along small streams. Due to the rainfall in past eight to ten days, most of the streams have water stored in the barrages. The local authorities have been asked to utilise this water for drinking purposes only,” said the official.