In Pics: How Marathwada’s Water Scarcity Is as Bad as a Civil War


With taps that have run dry, people crowd around municipal tanks to get water. Many have to wait as long as eight hours in blistering heat to get their fill. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
With taps that have run dry, people crowd around municipal tanks to get water. Many have to wait as long as eight hours in blistering heat to get their fill. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)

In Pics: How Marathwada’s Water Scarcity Is as Bad as a Civil War

In the drought-hit Marathwada region of Maharashtra, water levels in dams have dropped to only 3 per cent of the total capacity, officials said on Monday. Eight of the region’s 11 major dams are at dead storage level, meaning water from these dams cannot flow out but has to be lifted out by other means.

This is the fourth year of drought in Marathwada in the past five years. Each of its 8,522 villages have been affected for at two consecutive years. As many as 2,745 water tankers are being used in the region compared to 939 this time last year.

The water crisis is so severe in some parts of the region that water is being delivered through a special “water train” filled at Miraj in western Maharashtra. A class five student – a girl – died of heatstroke on Tuesday in Marathwada’s Beed district, after collapsing near a hand-pump.

These photographs by Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar, capture the haunting water crisis faced by people of the region, especially the agrarian communities, with many ending their lives as a last resort and several others migrating to bigger cities.

Off the state highway a few kilometers outside Latur town, a parched tree casts a scarce shadow. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Off the state highway a few kilometers outside Latur town, a parched tree casts a scarce shadow. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
A farmer inspects his damaged soyabean crop after a prolonged drought in the village of Murud Akola in Marathwada. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
A farmer inspects his damaged soyabean crop after a prolonged drought in the village of Murud Akola in Marathwada. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Distressed farmer suicides have averaged 9 a day. The drought has literally sucked life out of Maharashtra’s agrarian communities. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Distressed farmer suicides have averaged 9 a day. The drought has literally sucked life out of Maharashtra’s agrarian communities. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Grieving family members of Mahakant Mali, a farmer who took his life, hanging by the neck from a shrunken mango tree at the far edge of his field. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Grieving family members of Mahakant Mali, a farmer who took his life, hanging by the neck from a shrunken mango tree at the far edge of his field. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
A relative of Mali shows his only photograph. With him in the picture, is his widowed wife in better times. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
A relative of Mali shows his only photograph. With him in the picture, is his widowed wife in better times. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Thousands of leaky water tankers can be seen crisscrossing the Marathwada country. The tanker economy is booming. Price of water have tripled in the last few months from Rs 400 to Rs 1200 for 6,000 liters. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Thousands of leaky water tankers can be seen crisscrossing the Marathwada country. The tanker economy is booming. Price of water have tripled in the last few months from Rs 400 to Rs 1200 for 6,000 liters. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
With dams, barrages and borewells running dry, trains now pull in water from other parts of the state. Seen here is the Saigaon dam, which is now little more than a cesspool of grime and filth. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
With dams, barrages and borewells running dry, trains now pull in water from other parts of the state. Seen here is the Saigaon dam, which is now little more than a cesspool of grime and filth. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Taps have run dry long ago in Marathwada’s towns and villages. People crowd around municipal tanks to get water. Many have to wait as long as 8 hours in blistering heat to get their fill. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Taps have run dry long ago in Marathwada’s towns and villages. People crowd around municipal tanks to get water. Many have to wait as long as 8 hours in blistering heat to get their fill. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Daily wage laborers complain that they have to miss work in order to fill up their containers. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Daily wage laborers complain that they have to miss work in order to fill up their containers. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
A little boy watches, as an altercation breaks out at the Vivekanand Chowk water tank in Latur. Fights between officials and citizens over water supplies have led to violence and even death. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
A little boy watches, as an altercation breaks out at the Vivekanand Chowk water tank in Latur. Fights between officials and citizens over water supplies have led to violence and even death. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
“How dare you divert water meant for my colony?” - an argument ensues between an old man and the tank official. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
“How dare you divert water meant for my colony?” - an argument ensues between an old man and the tank official. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Lugging water filled jars back home has become a daily chore. This family has hired a tricycle for the day. Schools in the region have closed early owing to the water crisis and children say they were having great fun playing ‘water porters’ during their vacation. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
Lugging water filled jars back home has become a daily chore. This family has hired a tricycle for the day. Schools in the region have closed early owing to the water crisis and children say they were having great fun playing ‘water porters’ during their vacation. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
The streets of Latur town are perpetually lined with steel jugs in anticipation of a tanker’s arrival. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
The streets of Latur town are perpetually lined with steel jugs in anticipation of a tanker’s arrival. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
The industrial economy of the region has collapsed. This factory of Kirti Gold, a large agro-processing industrial group has been shuttered for the last 2 months. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
The industrial economy of the region has collapsed. This factory of Kirti Gold, a large agro-processing industrial group has been shuttered for the last 2 months. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
A failed harvest & shuttered industries have triggered large scale migration to cities like Mumbai and Pune. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)
A failed harvest & shuttered industries have triggered large scale migration to cities like Mumbai and Pune. (Photo: Ameya Marathe, curated by Nikhil Inamdar)

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