Rajasthan battling water crises

State has received lowest rainfall in 13 years so far; 215 of 284 dams are dry; on the other hand, Assam, Bihar and Punjab continue to grapple with floods.

Published: 24th July 2019 09:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th July 2019 09:56 AM   |  A+A-

People use a boat to move across a flooded area in Darbhanga, Bihar | PTI

Express News Service

JAIPUR : The slow progress of the monsoon is causing worry in Rajasthan, as only 14 of the 33 districts in the state have received normal rains so far. With the rainfall 9 per cent below normal in the state, several areas are facing an acute drinking water crisis. State capital Jaipur is facing a grim water situation as the Bisalpur dam has little reserves left. The dam, which supplies water to Jaipur, Ajmer and Tonk districts, has water left for just a few more weeks. The government is reportedly planning to supply piped water to homes here once in two days. 

Similarly, Jawai dam in west Rajasthan, the only source of drinking water for Pali district, has just three feet of water left, sufficient to supply water only until July 28. People in Pali are getting piped water once in four days, and if the situation does not improve quickly, trains will be used to bring water from Jodhpur. 

In Jaipur, while 1,000 tube wells have already been dug, the government is planning to dig 683 more tube wells to meet the emergency situation. Last year, 2,168 tube wells were operational and drew about 70 crore litres of water daily, but now the figure for daily withdrawal of groundwater is 195 crore litres. To tackle this crisis, Devraj Solanki, Additional Chief Engineer, PHED, said: “Besides starting more tube wells, we plan to provide water to areas with acute scarcity by using groundwater from areas which have some surplus.”

In the state, 215 of 284 dams are dry, and the remaining 69 have low water levels. Of the 22 large dams in the state, nine have no water. Nine districts are suffering from drought and more than 3,000 villages are being supplied water by tankers. Pali collector Dinesh Jain said, “We have completed all arrangements to use water trains in Pali and set up a special pump in Jodhpur. We have discussed this with railway officials and they’ve promised to give 30 wagons for our water train.

These wagons will soon reach Jodhpur. Each wagon has a capacity of 50,000 litres of water and the aim is to get about 10 MLT of water to Pali through water trains.”Rajasthan has only 1.16 per cent of surface water and 1.70 per cent of groundwater of the country. More than 80 per cent of the state is in the overexploited/critical category for groundwater.

In terms of rainfall in different divisions, Jodhpur, with 54 per cent less rain than normal, faces the biggest shortfall. It is followed by the Bikaner division, which has received 36 per cent less rain than normal, Jaipur, with a 15 per cent shortfall, Ajmer, with a 13 per cent deficit, and Kota, with a 5 per cent rain deficit.

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