Digging A Pit Every 2 Days, How This Parched Rajasthan Village Gets Water

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Digging A Pit Every 2 Days, How This Parched Rajasthan Village Gets Water

Adding to the problem is the alarming rate of fall in the groundwater table

Jaipur:

With summer approaching, villagers in some of the driest areas of Rajasthan have started digging for groundwater.

Only 10 per cent of this desert state can be categorised into water resources. The rest 90 per cent depends on groundwater for drinking as well as irrigation.

Adding to the problem is the alarming rate of fall in the groundwater table.

Studies show the groundwater level in Rajasthan has been falling by 1 metre a year. At least 219 areas among 302 identified as sources of groundwater have been overexploited, studies show.

Sixty kilometres ahead of Sanchore city in south Rajasthan, hundreds of residents have begun digging for water. As the pit reached a depth of 10 feet, it began to fill with water. Soon, a crowd rushed in carrying pots and pans.

The water will remain drinkable for two days before it turns saline. Many people, especially women, rushed in to take as much water as they could.

“The water is saline. We have complained to the authorities, but nobody helped us. If we have money, we buy from tankers, otherwise we have no choice but to use this water,” Umar Bhai, a resident, told NDTV.

A scanty monsoon last year has made the problem worse, and it won’t get any better this summer.

“I am 35 years old. We have asked for drinking water supply. Sometimes, we take water meant for animals,” said Jumma Khan, another resident.

At least a dozen villages in Sanchore’s Chitalwana tehsil are facing a severe drinking water shortage. The Narmada canal came to this region in 2008. It supplies drinking water to 500 villages in the area and to Jalore and Sanchore, but this tehsil comprising where most of the residents are wage-workers has been overlooked.

Since the water table is saline, the only way to get drinkable water is to dig pits. After two days, the villagers will have to dig a fresh pit for drinking water.

Churu, an area in northwest Rajasthan, was given drinking water connection under the Jal Jeevan Mission. Rajsa village here was also connected with taps, but most of these remained dry. The villagers say they have no choice but to spend whatever little money they have on buying from tankers.

In Bharatpur’s Bayana in east Rajasthan, Patparipura village does not have a single source of water. There is a well, but the water is undrinkable. The villagers walk 3 km to the border with Uttar Pradesh to get water from another village.

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