Dried out lands become very common view in many region of Marathwada.
MARATHWADA DROUGHT
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2015 monsoon with an average deficit rainfall of 50% for the third time in a row making it one of the worse affected state by drought of 2015-16. Some parts received even less: a meagre 35% of normal rainfall has intensified the situation.
Khomnal Village pond at Mangalwheda taluka, Solapur district in Maharashtra serves primarily as recharge for ground water sources in the village. The pond usually has water around the year. As far as villagers remember, the pond has never been completely dry at any point of the year. However, this year in march, the pond is completely dry.
A completely dried groundwater well in Kuranwadi village, Ambajogai taluk, Beed district.
In most parts of Maharashtra, people are facing water crisis as groundwater level in 61 talukas out of 76 takukas across the all eight districts of Marathwada has dropped severely as compared to the average level during the past five years.
Fetching water from a distant location during scorching heat of summer is a common view here in drought-hit areas of Marathwada. In almost every village of drought-hit Marathwada, people especially women, walking miles to fetch a single pot of water.
A young boy of Sohale village, Mohol taluka, Solapur district in Maharashtra is carrying water from a well about 500m away from his house. The well is incomplete and dry but has been filled with water supplied from a water tanker of 17000 litres capacity and costs Rs1800. It has been filled twice in the last 15 days.
The deteriorating water situation can be gauged by the steady decline in farming in many areas of Marathwada.
Farming land full of dried out crops at a village in parched Beed district, Marathwada.
The poor rainfall and low yield from the deep bore well in most of the farming field led to the loss of crop. Farmers, most of whom grow sugarcane and cotton, both water-intensive crops, are the worst hit.
Miles of landscape of dried out field has become a common view in most of the areas in parched Marathwada.
A dried out canal in Solapur district, Maharashtra. The area is under irrigation network of almost 100 km away Ujjani dam and a canal connects the villages that passes nearby. Villagers say that the last time they saw water in the canal was 9 months back.
A dried out canal at an interior village in Beed district, Marathwada.
Sharad Bapurao Gaekwad (30) of Sukli village, Beed district, has sugarcane in 1 acre and 6 acres of cotton. Irrigation for these crops is from a deep bore well, which is around 300 feet in depth. The poor rainfall and low yield from the deep bore well in his farm led to the loss of crop in the last season. Mr. Gaekwad says that he has lost around INR 90000 because of poor yields in the sugar cane crop.
A dried out cotton field at Sukli village of Beed district, Marathwada.
A dried out field of pomegranate at Shirnandgi village of Mangalwedha taluk, Solapur district in Maharashtra.
Devastating drought grips almost entire Marathwada.
As yields suffered and cumulative losses over three years, pushed many farmers to the brink and some, unfortunately beyond.
Farmer Arjun Kashinath Kumbad (75) from Borda village, in Osmanabad district of Marathwada at a cattle fodder camp at Andora village. He has around 4 acres of farming land in his village and had planted Sorghum (jowar) in the last season. However, In 2014-15, deficit monsoon and unseasonal rains lead to a decline in the production. He has failed to save the crop as the bore well in his farmland have also gone dry. Lack of sufficient fodder and water for his cattle prompted him to take his 5 cows to the cattle camp.
Dried land and dead trees are everywhere.
Farmers are also struggling to arrange sufficient drinking water for their cattle in drout-hit areas.
A woman takes break while migrating with her livestock at an interior area of Osmanabad district, Marathwada.
While migrating, she always has to arrange drinking water for herself and her livestock. Drought this year makes the situation more complex.
Farmer Tulsi Bajirao Sirki (60 y) at a cattle fodder camp in Osmanabad district, Marathwada. He owns around 5 acres of farming land and failed to save his crops because of inadequate water. Drinking water needs for his 6 family members is now met from the bore well in his farm while the cattle (a cow, three bulls and one calf) are taken care in the cattle camp. The family is completely dependent on farming and is unemployed as of now.
At fodder camps for cattle, sugarcane bagasse collected from the nearby sugar mill is mainly used to feed the cattle.
A farmer at the cattle fodder camp in Beed district, Marathwada.
The three worst-affected districts of Beed, Osmanabad and Latur do not have enough fodder to sustain their animals. Cow shelters cannot bear the load of additional cattle, forcing farmers to sell off their livestock at throwaway prices.
Water tankers on their way to the villages in parched Beed, Marathwada. Most of the 7,500 villages in Marathwada, spread across eight districts, are starved of water.
People sprint to the lone water tank in the middle of the village, where the tanker will offload its precious cargo. As the water flows, people bend over the tank walls to fill their vessels and hurry home to come back for more.
As a water tanker visits at Kanharbadi village of Beed distric after 15 days, villagers start stepping out of their homes with buckets, pots and pans in hand. They have heard this water tanker while it was still a kilometre away.
Sudden increase in demand of the water storing drums have made them costlier in the drought-hit areas of Marathwada.
Since the bore wells and hand pumps provided by the Gram panchayat are not in proper function, residents of the village usually line up to ensure they have sufficient water for drinking purpose and household needs.
In Khomnal village of Mangalwheda taluka, Solapur district, only one hand pump provided by the gram panchayat are still in function but the low yield from this water sources does not meet the need for the1600 villagers properly.
Since last two months in Massa village of Osmanabad district, villagers have started to recharge their dried out groundwater well once in a week by a water tanker (17000 liters) which costs Rs1800. Till now the villagers have been bearing the cost of this water tanker. People fear that this may not be possible for them to continue in the long run.
Ranba nivrati devkate (55) of Kuranwadi village, Ambajogai taluk, Beed district owns about 45 acres of farmland. He mostly cultivated jowar and due to poor rainfall last year, the crop yields were low. The family also owns around 43 cattle which requires at least a 1000 litres of water each day. After the failed harvesting season, they had no other way but to move into their farmlands leaving their houses at a distant village and have started liviing temporarily in a make shift house there . They have a bore well in their farmland but nowadays, it does not provide more than 300 litres of water per day. He fears that they will also have to depend on water tankers soon as their bore well will eventually dry in a few days.
Bore well water is the only option for some remote villages where water tankers fail to reach at a regular interval. Sometimes 2/3 villages have to depend on a bore well as most of the bore wells are not in function due to depleting groundwater level.
A migrating farmer family at an interior village of Beed district, Marathwada. It?s not just about parched land and dry taps, but there?s a humanitarian crisis that?s unfolding in the villages of Marathwada. People are forced to migrate to cities in search of jobs and to get rid of this severe water scarcity.
Distress migration from villages is happening on an unprecedented scale and only the children and the old could be found in many villages.
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