Parched earth, dry throats haunt people of rural Chamarajanagar

Depleting water table also has become a cause for concern

Long queues of empty pots in front of mini water supply tanks and women and children waiting in hot sun to collect one or two pots of drinking water is a common scene in rural areas in Chamarajanagar district.

Despite waiting for a long time under scorching sun, people are not sure if they would get enough water to quench thirst of their family members. Due to frequent power-cuts the tanks do not get filled up most of the times.

Some men depend on irrigation pump-sets to collect water for drinking. They tie pots to their bicycles and motorbikes and make trips to farm lands to fetch water. But, some times farmers do not allow people to collect water.

Another problem is depleting groundwater. The residents who have used lake beds to develop residential areas and cut off watershed for existing lakes by ‘developing’ surrounding areas and extracted all available groundwater through innumerable borewells are facing the problem now.

There is no sufficient water in existing borewells. Those still digging borewell are going as far as 700 metres deep into the earth.

The engineering division of the zilla panchayat has taken steps to draw a list of villages to be affected the most. Earlier, it was thought that 175 villages would make it to the list, but now it seems that almost 350 villages would find place in the list.

Under drought relief programme the ZP has taken up 294 works including laying of pipelines, repair of pump-sets, and new borewells, at a cost of Rs 4.68 crore, 93 works have already been complete. However, this is not enough and the district administration has prepared a proposal for Rs 12 crore and forwarded it to the state government.

After failing all local water resources, the villagers now demand a permanent water supply project from rivers, which is a far-off dream.

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