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Mar 19, 2013 at 09:36am IST

Gujarat: Saurashtra's Amreli region faces acute water shortage

Amreli (Gujarat): Lack of water in Gujarat's Saurashtra region has forced people to pay more for water than what they earn in a day. It has been over a week since residents of Bhatarwadi locality in Amreli have had water.

Setting off with vessels in search of water has become a daily routine in Amreli, and they have to jostle for whatever little water is available.

"We earn Rs 100 a day and a water tanker costs Rs 150. How can we make ends meet," asks Amreli resident Nargis Memon. Another resident, Khatuben Shaikh, echoes similar sentiments. "We ask everyone for water but no one wants to share," she says.

The situation is no different in other parts of Amreli and many women have waited a week for water to flow in their taps. "People say that Modi sahib will ensure that there will be water, but by when," says Alka Desai.

Amreli gets just half of its daily requirement of 15 million litres. So acute is the situation that women from all parts of Amreli gather at a tank to wash clothes while a voluntary organisation provides the water using a borewell.

"There's no water at home. You can come and see for yourself," says Dadiben Shah.

Amreli Municipality Leader of Opposition Aziz Ghori blames the state government for poor water supply. ""The leaders here do not care about peoples' problems," he says.

However, Gujarat Water Resources Minister Babu Bokhiria says the government is taking steps to tackle the situation. "We are also considering providing water through tankers," he says.

The situation is equally bad in rural Amreli. Nana Akadiya village, home to 6000 people, is divided into zones, each getting its quota of Narmada water just once in a fortnight. For irrigation, farmers like Mahendra Desai depend entirely on the monsoon. Borewells have run dry and the Narmada canals are nowhere in sight.

"We're not even getting adequate drinking water, getting water for irrigation is asking for too much," says Desai

Hundreds of farmers depend entirely on the monsoon for their farming needs in many parts of Saurashtra even as getting water from the Narmada project for their farming is still a distant dream.