The prolonged drought in many districts of Karnataka has led to many unforeseen circumstances in the region, adding to the woes of the people.
Four consecutive years of drought has claimed over 800 deaths in the state between April 2016 and March 2017 alone.
Two different incidents in Karnataka reveal the everyday horrors faced by people living under severe shortage.
In one such incident a five-year-old girl lost her life after she was mauled by stray dogs, when her mother was compelled to leave her alone at midnight to fetch water, in Kalamandaragi Bandenakera tanda in Gulbarga district.
“We get water at midnight twice a week and I have to stock up. At around 12.30 am on Wednesday, I had gone to fill the water from the tanker and Nandini was asleep when I checked up on her before I left. When I came back, she was nowhere to be seen,” Renuka said.
Renuka Jadhav lived alone with her daughter, while her husband Aravind Jadhav lives in Dubai.
A worried Renuka, went looking for her daughter and when she entered a bylane, she found dogs biting Nandini.
“I shooed the dogs away and when I got to my daughter she was already dead. Nandini must have woken up as I was not home and came looking for me. We had requested the gram panchayat many times to not send water tankers so late but they did not listen. If I was at home, my daughter would not have died,” Renuka said.
While this incident reveal the inconvenience people are facing because of irregular water supply, the other incident bring to light the conflicts arising from water shortage.
In Vijayapura district’s Tadavala village, where two men share a borewell located between their properties, an argument about water sharing led to one of them shooting his neighbour for “wasting” water.
Vitoba, was shot by his neighbour Siddappa on Wednesday night following an argument that broke out between them.
“My brother was using the borewell water to water the plants. Angered by this, Siddappa began shouting at Vitoba and said ,‘how dare you waste water for plants.’ Siddappa was angry that Vitoba was watering plants, as there is barely any water to drink,” Thimappa said.
Siddappa shot Vitoba, injuring him and the former is now recovering from a surgery.
With the water levels in reservoirs across Karnataka reaching dead storage levels, the state government, on April 11, ruled out supplying water for agricultural purposes.
M B Patil, Minister for Water Resource had at the time said that the government is urging farmers to not use their pump sets to draw water from canals and reservoirs for agricultural activities.
“Judging by the water levels in the dams, it will be sufficient for the next 60 days for the entire state,” Patil had said on April 11. Although this agricultural season is over, water will not be released to farmers for growing the second crop.
“In parts of northern Karnataka, which received heavy rainfall in 2016, water was supplied from Narayanpura and Almatti dams for two crops. The Almatti dam has no water anymore and it would be greedy to ask for more water for growing crops when there is barely any water for drinking,” Patil had said.