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Acute water shortage leading to open defecation

Residents of Hiregowja collect water from tanks.

Owing to the scarcity of water, residents of Hiregowja have resorted to open defecation.

Sujatha, a resident of SC/ST Colony, said the members in the house were avoiding the use of toilets. They go to open fields in order to answer Nature’s call.

“The Zilla Panchayat staff members had come to the village for a survey on toilet usage. They returned without speaking a word after we had asked them to provide water in toilets,” she added.

Another villager Shivamma said that there is very little flow of water in a hand pump. “One develops chest pain after tugging the handle of a hand pump in order to collect a potful of water. It is very difficult to manage water to wash utensils, clothes and also for bathing. The residents of the village have decided to take a bath only once in four days. A row of drums is found outside every house. The lakes and tanks are empty and the people are finding it difficult to provide water to the cattle too,” she complained.

Owing to the acute shortage of water, the people are forced to purchase water by paying
Rs 50 a drum, which is equivalent of 16 pots of water, from private suppliers. People say that the water supplied in tankers by the local panchayat is not sufficient.

Sujatha said that there is a serious shortage of water for the past six years.

“The local panchayat had been supplying water in tankers once in 10 days and every house gets two drums of water during every supply. For a family of seven to eight people, two drums of water are not sufficient for 10 days,” she explained.

“Women in post pregnancy and children in the house require water. Therefore, we purchase water by paying Rs 50 a drum. Our livelihood depends on daily wages. Of late, the money earned by the daily wage earners is spent on the water,” Sujatha said.

Borewells in the village to have gone dry. Water collected from borewells in Sakharayapattana and the surrounding regions is, therefore, being supplied through tankers.

Farmers too are worried as the crops have begun wilting. Some farmers had been purchasing water to save their tomato and chilli plants.

There is not much water in the tanks meant for cattle, which are being seen licking the moisture at the bottom of the tanks in order to quench their thirst.

APMC former president Basavaraju said that there is a need to rejuvenate the lakes in the village.

If the current situation persists, the villagers may have to migrate to other regions, he feared.

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