The depletion of ground water resources in Anantapur district has become a matter of grave concern.

Based on a study, the State government has notified 420 villages in 53 mandals in the district as unfit for sinking new or additional agricultural borewells or drilling drinking water bores as the ground water there had been over-exploited.

There are 23 villages in the district, which do not have protected drinking water or any water sources and are dependent on the water tankers deployed by Rural Water Supply (RWS) department. These villages are spread over in Nallacheruvu, Tanakal, Putlur, Yellanur, Vidapanakal and Anantapur mandals.

“Our wait for the water tankers is endless. We often set aside all other household chores and wait for hours together for the tanker. For us, clean water is dearer than food and work as consumption of unprotected water had made us sick,” said Tirupathamma, a woman residing in an SC colony in Vidapanakal mandal.

Women engaging in wordy duels and quarrelling over a pot of water is a common sight in city slums and rural habitations. Mangathayaru, a woman carrying her baby in her arms at Balapuram in Putlur, laments that life had become an ordeal waiting for getting rationed water.

“I do not go for work as I will miss my pot of drinking water,” she says. Hydrologists in the Ground Water Department attribute the situation to the unscientific and indiscriminate sinking of borewells without seeking the advice of hydrologists. Deputy Director of Ground Water Department M. V. Pullaiah says that sinking of too many agriculture wells, poor rainfall record, geology of the area, underground rock formations and the soil conditions contribute to decline in water table. Only continuous rainfall can alter a grim situation.

Records show that the district had been plagued by drought for over a hundred years down the line registering scanty rainfall, though there are exceptions now and then. In Kadiri and Mudigubba, the high fluoride content in water has compounded the precarious drinking water position.

More than 80 villages are affected by fluorosis.

Collector B. Janardhan Reddy is hopeful for the year ahead as as several drinking water projects in Anantapur, Kadiri, Kalyandurg and Hindupur are on the verge of completion.

Keywords: Water crisis