The drinking water situation in rural areas across the State is alarming due to depletion of water availability and drying up of sources.

Authorities of the Rural Water Supply Department admit that about 38 lakh people in nearly 3,000 habitations, mostly in Telangana region, are facing drinking water scarcity.

Some district Collectors, at whose disposal the State government has kept sufficient funds to tie over the situation, have been found wanting in taking the call to meet the demand in several districts. As a result, people in most of the affected habitations are being forced to manage with a meagre supply of 15 litres per capita per day (LPCD) against the WHO-standard requirement of 40 LPCD.

“The WHO norm means water requirement of a person for all his needs in a day. But, we (RWS Department) are supplying water only for drinking and cooking needs”, officials of the department argued. Summer has put severe stress on water sources resulting in 154 protected water supply schemes becoming defunct and 15,009 borewells getting seasonal.

When contacted, Deputy Chief Engineer of RWS B. Surender Reddy told The Hindu on Tuesday that drinking water was being transported to 2,939 habitations as on May 4 due to shortfall in yield (1,091), drying up and depletion in the water quality (1,831) and power supply problem (17). Need of 1,831 habitations was being met by hiring private sources like agricultural borewells.

Shortfall in water yield in sources was high in Chittoor (374 habitations), Karimnagar (115), Srikakulam (110), Adilabad (81), Krishna (65), Kadapa (53), Warangal (46), Medak (41), Nizamabad (39) and Khammam (31), whereas drying up of sources and depletion in quality was more in Warangal (902), Chittoor (499), Nalgonda (310), Karimnagar (282), Medak (151), Adilabad (132), Nizamabad (119), Kadapa (117), Srikakulam (113) and Khammam (71), he explained.

Shortage of staff has also become a bottleneck in meeting the demand in some districts like Nizamabad, where only 15 per cent of the sanctioned strength was available. Of the a sum of Rs. 57.53 crore released to Collectors for taking up contingency measures in scarcity habitations only Rs.16,67 crore has been utilised so far. Besides, Rs. 25 lakh each legislators' ACDP fund has also been allocated for the purpose.

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