With monsoon not in sight any time soon and temperatures soaring over 43 degrees Celsius, Andhra Pradesh is reeling under unrelenting water crisis.
The state is witnessing the harshest summer in recent times. with the ground water depleted and reservoirs dried.
The rainfall has reduced to a meager 64.4 percent. The deficit in the coastal region, which is predominantly fertile, is an odd 57 percent.
The drought-like situation last week pushed a farmer in Prakasam district to the edge to commit suicide. The farmer, Addanki Venkateshwara Raju (67), had a debt burden of over 2.50 lakh, when he took his life after 15 of his borewells didn’t help.
The situation has also created fodder shortage. Farmers in districts like Nellore and Prakasam are struggling to get fodder for their livestock.
People in towns like Vizianagaram, Ongole, Giddaluru and Kadapa are getting piped drinking water once in four to five days, as water crisis proliferates.
The tankers deployed by authorities don’t seem to arouse confidence with as amany as 20 towns procuring their water once in 2-3 days. Officials say the situation may exacerbate if monsoon is further delayed till the month end.
There is a shortage of 453 million liters of drinking water in urban areas every day. In 110 urban areas, there are 12.50 lakh tap connections. Authorities are currently supplying 1,378 million liters of water per day against the requirement of 1,831 million liters.
Last year’s drought has also contributed to the present water scarcity with as many as 38 reservoirs drying up completely in April.
Underground water table has also depleted by an average 2.80 metres. In Rayalaseema, it has depleted by 7.26 metres. Even borewells dug up to 150 feet have dried up.
Monsoon normally arrives in the state in the first week of June but this year there is a delay. The monsoon arrived on Kerala coast on June 8 and was expected to enter Andhra Pradesh on June 13.
The weatherman website suggested that unless cyclone Vayu in the Arabian Sea weakens completely, the southwest monsoon is likely to remain sluggish.
To make matters worse, the heat wave is still not dampening.
Vepada in Vizianagaram on Saturday recorded the highest temperature of 46.8 degree Celsius, whereas, Tangutur in Prakasam district was the hottest on Sunday with a maximum temperature of 45.8 degree Celsius.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that heatwave conditions will prevail in the state over the next few days. It had also issued a warning of severe heatwave conditions at isolated places.
Skymet Weather, a private weather forecast company, had issued an advisory for farmers in the first week of June against sowing of crops for Kharif season for at least the next 10-15 days as monsoon was delayed and seemed to be sluggish on its onset.