More than 28,000 villages in Maharastra have been severely affected by a drought. The Government of Maharashtra declared drought in 151 out of the 358 administrative blocks in the state. The situation is grim as 32 out of 36 districts in the state are affected by the drought. The current drought is being compared to the devastating drought in 1972. Water scarcity in Maharashtra is worsening, with water levels in dams rapidly depleting. Currently, 5,943 tankers ply in all across the state to supply water to 4,331 villages.
Drought-prone regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada are the worst hit, with the situation particularly difficult in Marathwada. Marathwada has only 3.02% of water left in all its reservoirs as against 23.52% at the same time last year. Of the nine major reservoirs in the Marathwada, eight have completely run out of water. More than 500 villages in Marathwada are dependent on water tankers to meet their drinking water needs.
As per the 2011 Census, the Marathwada region has a population of more than 18 million. Farming is the main source of livelihood as three-fourths of the region is agricultural land. The region has witnessed severe droughts in the last five years, significantly impacting the livelihood of farmers. For landless and marginal farmers, the lack of work or the delay in finding work forces them to migrate to other places in search of work. In addition, the work conditions of migrant workers are highly exploitative and arduous, with women and children being the worst hit.
Beed, Aurangabad and Jalna are the three districts in the Marathwada regions most severely affected by drought, with the highest number of blocks affected by severe drought. ActionAid is reaching out to the affected population in these districts to provide drought relief and livelihood support. We are providing drinking water for the affected population and fodder for livestock. We have also set up community kitchens and are implementing cash-for-work initiatives for digging contour trenches, land levelling and recharging wells. Besides, we are installing drip irrigation systems for small land-holding farmers as livelihood support.
ActionAid Association has been working with the communities in Marathwada to raise awareness on water conservation, drought mitigation, resilient agriculture and alternative livelihoods since the last five years. Through our efforts, we have been able to sustain 12 villages with livelihoods of farmers by ensuring water availability by implementing the various water conservation models, recharging and desilting various water bodies. Our model has proven extremely effective as water is being supplied from one of our water storages to other villages.
To reach 20,000 people with drought relief ActionAid Association seeks to raise Rs 20,00,000 (20 lakhs)
We appeal to you to support our efforts to provide relief to the people affected by the severe drought in Maharashtra. Your support is extremely crucial in mobilising funds for the Maharashtra drought to ensure the people affected by the drought have access to drinking water and a means to sustain their livelihoods.