Article courtesy of Himanshu Bhatt | March 22, 2015 | The Times of India | Shared as educational material
SURAT: A small girl from Missan Pada Faliya of Ahwa in Dang district was seen filling her pot with water from a pit on Thursday morning. Soon, many others from the village gathered around her to get water from the same dirty ditch, located close to Ahwa sarpanch Sanjay Pawar’s house. Water becomes a scarce commodity in many villages of the tribal-dominated Dang district, particularly in April and May. Ironically, the average annual rainfall received by Dang district is 2,372 mm.
Residential colonies in Ahwa town pay Rs 500 for a 500 litre capacity water tanker in the summer season to meet their water shortfall.
“It is not easy to get water here by paying money also. This is because it is a hilly place and water suppliers don’t want to take risk while supplying us water on payment. Our situation is precarious for most of the summer season,” said former sarpanch of Amsarvaran village Shivram D. Gangorde.
He said, “We don’t have enough water to take bath and wash our clothes. It becomes very difficult to maintain cattle. The situation changes only after the monsoon season begins,” he said.
The story is no different in villages like Navaria, Dedmal and Waghmal, which lie close to Amsarvaran village and approximately 20 km from Ahwa. These villages get water under group water supply scheme envisioned for them and others during the summer season by the authorities concerned.
Suresh Pawar, a resident of Benmal village, which is located 23 km from Ahwa, said, “About 30 per cent of 311 villages in Dang district suffer from acute water crisis. This is a hilly area so the water doesn’t it seep into the ground despite good rainfall here. We have only natural springs to depend on. The state government is yet to come out with a permanent solution to the problem.”
It is estimated that 66,000 people of the two lakh population of Dang suffer from water woes, an officer said.
However, Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board executive engineer JD Chaudhary refuted that there was any water problem in the district. “At present, there is no one here who is without water. Everyone is being supplied water regularly.”
Government figures say Dang has 26 group water supply schemes for supplying water to 138 villages in the district. The remaining 173 villages have made their own arrangement for water. There are 5,663 hand pumps to draw water in the district.