Vrindavan, 2018.02.21 (VT) Vrindavan residents may be forced to walk long distances to fetch water as 17 of the city’s tube wells have dried up. The work of drilling new borings is also delayed and many residents will find themselves in a difficult situation if the work is not completed by summer.
The groundwater has dried up in several areas so the municipality is searching for new areas where they can tap into the groundwater supply. Some of the places that have been earmarked for new borings are in narrow lanes where drilling machines cannot enter. Teams of men can make a boring using a hand drill, however, several days wages will need to be paid to a drilling team to make each boring and the municipality had not budgeted for this expense.
There are currently 168 tubewells in Vrindavan, from which the government supplies water for household needs. In a few colonies, water is always in the pipelines and can be pumped at any time, however, in most government colonies, water is only supplied for a few hours per day and residents have to rely on storing water in underground tanks. In private colonies, there is no government water supply, so residents need their own boring to tap into the groundwater supply. When the groundwater supply underneath people’s houses dries up, they face difficulties.
In many places in Vrindavan, the groundwater is salty and the brakish water is supplied untreated to households. People only drink the government-supply water if forced to. Due to the salt, minerals, chemicals and organisms, it does not quench thirst and is damaging to health. The water is not even suitable for household usage as it causes pots to rust and air-coolers to become clogged with salt deposits. When used for bathing, it can cause dry skin and itchiness.
The Riverfront Development Project under which the area in front of Keshi Ghat is being concreted, is contributing to Vrindavan’s water supply problems by displacing the natural river bed, which is a major contributor to the town’s groundwater supply. A project to bring water from the Ganga river is currently underway, however, most of the water is earmarked for Agra, which has even more severe water shortage issues due to the larger population.