Aurangabad: Battling one of the worst droughts in the recent past, Maharashtra's Marathwada region is only left with paltry 380 Million Cubic Meter (MCM) of usable water in over 800 dams in the region.
With a grim situation prevailing in all eight districts, the drought condition is only likely to get worsen in the coming days with administration pressing in action services like sending more number of water tankers, getting water from neighbouring districts.
According to sources in the Divisional Commissioner Office, in the total 843 small and big dams of the region, only 380 MCM of usable water is left while the total capacity is 7,968 MCM.
Sources said over 2,500 water tankers are in operation in the region, mostly in the worst-affected Beed, Latur and Osmanabad districts.
According to officials, out of the 75 medium dams in Marathwada, 54 have completely dried up. Of these, six are in Aurangabad, 16 in Osmanabad, three in Jalna, four in Nanded, 12 in Beed and two in Parbhani.
There are a total of 11 big water projects in Marathwada, which has water storing capacity of 5143 MCM and currently the usable water stock available is 268 MCM, while there are 75 medium projects with a capacity of 934 MCM but the stock remaining is meagre 56 MCM.
In one of the worst-hit Beed district, 146 irrigation projects and small Bindusara river, which serve as chief source of drinking water in the district, have parched. Nearly 1,200 bore-wells in the district too have dried up. Currently, the only source of water is received from Majalgaon reservoir and has stock left only for next 26 days.
The grave water scarcity situation in Jalna district has even compelled villagers to cancel marriages.
Vilas Raut, a resident of Dolkehda village in Jalna, said about 25 men and 20 women in the district have decided to postpone their marriage functions to October and November in view of the acute water scarcity.
In Latur, about 500 kilometres east of Mumbai, half-a-million residents are reeling from years of below-par monsoon rains. Groups of people have been banned in Latur from gathering near water sources, in a preventive measure to prevent riots over water.
In Aurangabad, historical monument Panchakki (water-mill) too has parched, which otherwise attracts lakhs of tourists round the year.
Pilgrims visiting Paithan in Aurangabad for Nath procession on March 29 will face a tough time as river banks across Godavari have dried up. To tackle the situation, municipality of Paithan has made water supply through tankers and make shift taps would also be brought into service.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Umakant Dangat had earlier told PTI that government is trying its best to ensure that the meagre water storage lasts till rains arrive.
In order to mitigate the problems, district administration is making alternate arrangements like fetching 2 TMC water from Isapur irrigation project to Vishnupuri dam, which is likely suffice drinking water requirement for a month in Nanded district.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had on Wednesday expressed concern over the matter and said efforts were being made to provide water to the drought parched region via trains.
He had tweeted on making arrangements for water tanker train for Latur.