With rising mercury levels and severe heatwave, Gujarat is facing a massive water crisis. The scarcity is particularly acute in the Saurashtra region, Kutch, North Gujarat and parts of tribal pockets in central and South Gujarat.
More than 20 districts are severely affected as towns and villages hardly get water twice a week. In more than 500 villages in 14 districts, drinking water is being supplied through tankers; the number will only rise in days to come.
Recently, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani admitted that the State is in the midst of a major water shortage but assured that drinking water will be provided to every village. Except the Narmada, all other waterbodies and dams have negligible water, he said.
“The available water in all the dams of these regions is negligible. However, thanks to the Sardar Sarovar dam and the Narmada canal network, people will not face any difficulty till July-end. Water is available in the dam. The only challenge is to supply it to far-flung areas, some 500 km away from the dam,” Mr. Rupani said after reviewing the situation.
Subsequently, the State government asked the district administrations to start plying tankers in villages where water was not available.
“After a review and reports from local authorities, we have decided to provide drinking water to villages located in different districts by tankers so that people don’t face any shortage,” said Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.
According to officials, the number of villages needing water tankers will only rise due to high temperatures that push the demand.
Supply on alternate days
In Rajkot, water is supplied only for 20 minutes a day and in many localities and societies located on the outskirts, supply is on alternate days or through tankers.
Even in Jasdan, the Assembly constituency of Kuvarji Bavalia, the Water Supply Minister, shortage of drinking water forced villagers to hold protests demanding its regular supply.
Local legislators have made representations demanding adequate water supply in areas where the Narmada water is the only source now.
“In my area, more than two dozen villages are facing acute shortage. I have written to the Minister and demanded that all villages are provided water through tankers and tanker trips be doubled,” said Congress legislator Virji Thummar from Amreli district.