Drinking water scarcity in Maharashtra has reached a crisis situation. Every day, 6,290 tankers are supplying water to 4,920 villages and 10,506 hamlets.
While tacking a similar drought in 2016, the State government had provided 5,923 tankers to 4,768 villages and 7,622 hamlets.
Back of the envelope calculation suggest that on an average, every tanker carries 10,000 litres of water, which in effect means 6.29 crore litres of water is supplied every day to the water-starved residents across Maharashtra. In 2016, 5.92 crore litres of water was provided daily.
A senior government official told BusinessLine that in the previous years, there was a lot of false billing by the tanker owners. This year, all tankers have been fitted with GPS tracking devices for monitoring their activities.
In many villages, transparent water tanks have been installed to ensure that the correct quantity of water is supplied by the tankers, the official said.
Along with humans, farm animals are also suffering due to lack of water. As many as 1,501 cattle camps have been set up in the State. The State government is providing green fodder and water to over 10 lakh animals in these camps.
The official added that the State government has also decided to provide fodder and water to sheep and goats.
But it could have an adverse impact on the environment as sheep and goats eat all kinds of vegetation, including thorny bushes. In order to reduce costs, fodder camp contractors could use trees, bushes and other vegetation on public lands, which could result in soil degradation, the official said.
After an inadequate monsoon last year, the Fadnavis government in October 2018 declared drought in 151 of 358 tehsils in the State.