Last week, women of Devarahubballi village marched to the gram panchayat office with empty pots and ransacked the premises condemning the authorities for not solving their water woes.
In several villages in Dharwad district, a major part of work is finding and fetching drinking water. Many towns receive drinking water once in a fortnight and daily wage earners skip the day’s work to store water on this day.
In villages like Devarahubballi, which falls in Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar’s home district, drought has been a continuous phenomenon for three years. Water bodies have dried up and alternative sources like borewells are failing due to the depletion in the ground water level. It is not uncommon to see people standing in serpentine queues in front of tankers.
Added to the woes is the power shortage which is coming in the way of pumping water. Power supply in rural areas is reduced to three to four hours a day.
There is inordinate delay implementing drinking water supply schemes. For instance, the Rs. 21-crore Multi Village Drinking Water Supply Scheme meant for the 14 parched villages of Kundagol and Hubli taluks is yet to be completed. A scheme to utilise the water of the Tuprihalla rivulet and construction of check dams for Bennihall rivulet to control flood and water storage and the Rs. 75-crore proposal to supply drinking water from the Tungabhadra canal are just on paper.
In all likelihood, the water crisis will become a major poll issue and the BJP may have to find it difficult to convince people, more so since Hubli-Dharwad is the Chief Minister’s home district.