Bengaluru/Belagavi: Summer is yet to start, but Karnataka is already facing drinking water shortage owing to an extended drought and depletion of groundwater coupled with state government apathy.
Serpentine queues in front of water taps, hand pumps and water tankers are a common sight in towns and cities of the arid north Karnataka. In rural areas, people, mostly womenfolk with pitchers on head, can be seen walking several kilometres daily to fetch drinking water.
Revenue department officials say the situation will get worse in April and May when the temperatures cross 40 degrees Celsius especially in north Karnataka.
According to the government’s latest statistics, the water levels in state’s reservoirs have dipped to 40% – a phenomenon generally reported in April. The water levels in important dams have halved on a year-on-year comparison, with Tungabhadra, Almatti, Ghataprabha, Narayanpura and Malaprabha being the worst hit.
The drought and drinking water shortage have forced mass migration of people and cattle from the affected areas such as Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Raichur districts to Goa, south Karnataka and Maharashtra, whey they get jobs during this time.
The situation in south Karnataka is comparatively better, thanks to good post-monsoon rains that improved the ground water level. The arid Kolar and Chikkaballapur too received unseasonal rains and the district authorities are hopeful of tiding over the crisis during peak summer.