In the wake of the delayed and deficient monsoon, the Centre has expressed its concern of scarcity of drinking water in the rural areas in the months ahead and has urgently directed the States to prepare a contingency plan to cope with the impending situation.

The Department of Drinking Water Supply under the Ministry of Rural Development has underscored its apprehension that drinking water supply in the rural areas would most probably to stand affected due to the deficiency in rainfall and its intensity, notwithstanding the relief the recent rains might have provided.

The Centre feared that the situation to get critical in some of the rain deficient areas especially after February 2010 till the arrival of the next monsoon. The Centre has directed the States to immediately prepare the contingency plan including transportation of water along with the estimates for sanction.

According to the report prepared by the department at least 41 districts, 15 of which fall in Uttar Pradesh, had received scanty rainfall, while a whopping number of 271 districts had received deficient rainfall. The States with the largest number of districts having received deficient rainfall are Uttar Pradesh(38), Madhya Pradesh(32), Rajasthan(27), Bihar(20), Maharashtra(17), Gujarat(16), Andhra Pradesh(15), Chhatisgarh(13) and Tamil Nadu(13) and Haryana(11).

Only 169 districts had received normal rainfall while 46 others had received rainfall in excess of normal.

Only Orissa had marginally received excess rainfall, as did Karnataka minus the Western Ghats. The deficiency ranged up to 35 percent in other cases.