Water woes continue to plague the inhabitants of Patihinja village in Mayurbhanj district, Odisha, as they have to walk miles and stand in long queues to fetch water for their families.
A villager from Patihinja said, “Three hand pumps in the village are out of order. While there is no water in one, the other two are not working. We have to travel a long distance to fetch water.”
According to the Central Ground Water Board, in the 2019 pre-monsoon assessment of the depth of water level, 72 wells were monitored in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. 15% wells had 0 to 2 meters below ground level (m bgl) water, 44% had 2 to 5 m bgl, 38% had 5 to 10 m bgl and 3% had 10 to 20 m bgl.
Odisha’s groundwater level volume has dropped to 15.57 billion cubic meters (BCM) in 2017 as compared o 16.69 BCM in 2009.
Talking about the Patihinja village, a human right advocate, Shreemathi Majhi, said that the villagers stand in long queues to fetch water from a brook.
R K Mohapatra, Pani Panchayat officer said, “Last week we were informed that one of them (hand pump) is not working properly. I have directed two mechanics to repair it. We usually take 1-2 weeks for investigation and then repair it to provide water.”
As per reports, Raghunandan Das, Minister of State for Water Resource, said that the estimated average surface and groundwater potential is at 141 BMC which can reduce to 129 BCM in 2050.
While referring to the State Water Plan of 2004, Das mentioned that in about 50 years, the Rushikulya river basin, one of the major rivers in Odisha, will reach its scarcity condition along with the Baitarani and Bahuda river basins. He added that the per capita availability of Rushikulya will drop to 1,021 cubic meters while it will be 1,348 and 1,412 for Baitarani and Bahuda respectively.