Water, Water Nowhere! Residents of Marathwada in Deep Despair
‘The water smells and is unfit for drinking, but we don’t have a choice’; soapy water for pets; relatives are now not welcome at homes
Mumbai: With the mercury rising and very little water around, things are getting quite difficult for residents of Marathwada, facing one of the worst droughts in recent times, made worse by four successive crop failures. People of this region have stopped taking bath for a couple of weeks, they are using disposable plates, and are even giving up religious rituals which involve use of water. Take Dislewadi village in Beed district, for instance, where villagers take bath once a week.
“We occasionally get tanker water — the water has been poured in a dried-up well in our village. The water smells and is unfit for drinking, but we don’t have a choice, we have to drink it,” said Sarubai Disle, a village resident. The situation for pets such as goats and dogs is even worse — they drink the soapy water left behind after washing clothes.
Things are pretty much the same in former CM Vilasrao Deshmukh’s constituency Latur. “I have had employees who have not been able to take bath for days — one of my employees took bath once in two weeks,” said urologist Hansraj Baheti, who runs a clinic in Latur.
People have stopped using washing machines. “The scarcity has changed people’s outlook on water,” said Latur resident Shivdas Mitkari.
People have even stopped washing their homes with water, which used to be a regular practice. “Now people sweep their floor with a broom, and cleaning vehicles with water is a strict no-no,” said Mitkari.
Mitkari and other residents in Marathwada said even relatives are now not welcome. “They can stay for an hour or so, but not more than that. They are politely told that it is difficult to arrange water for them.”