Ponnam Susheela and Gaddam Sujatha are neighbours in Chinna Pendiyal village. Standing at the public tap on Wednesday, they were fighting with each other.

The argument was all about who kept their empty vessel first at the tap in the wee hours and who should draw water first. “Mem pakka pakkane untam. Ee manchinilla samasya tho godava pettukovalsi vastandhi (We live as neighbours. But, due to this water shortage, we are forced to fight with each other),” said Susheela speaking to The Hindu.

NREGS works

The villagers are busy with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) works and the particular day the water is released for domestic purpose women stay back at home to get two or three pots of water, that too with great hardship.

Sujatha says that they get water once in four days and they decide in advance on how many pots each should draw before either the tanks get exhausted or power supply goes off.

“We usually get two or three pots of water. What we do not like is we hurl abuses at each other as if we are long time enemies, only to get that precious pot of water,” she said shame facedly.

Like Chinna Pendiyal, several other villages in the mandal get water through taps from the Over Head Static Reservoirs (OHSRs) which are filled drawing water from the ground using bore-wells. However, due to sharp fall in ground water level and erratic power supply, the OHSRs were not getting filled to cater to the needs of all the people in a village.

The traditional tanks too went dry and turned out as mere puddles just enough to meet the requirements of the cattle.