Approximately 4,300 villages are facing the grim situation as village wells and water bodies are drying up fast, prompting the administration to supply water through tankers for human consumption and livestock.
According to sources, around 331 villages in Amravati, 800 in Yavatmal, 300 in Gadchiroli and 120 in Wardha district of the region in Eastern Maharashtra are severely affected.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar have demanded assistance from Prime Minister Manmohan Sinfh and the Centre has agreed to release Rs 700 crore initially, official sources said. In Nagpur, Rs 13.99 crore have been spent on tackling the water supply scheme in 354 villages, they said.
A number of villages including Narsala, Hudkeshwar, Bahadura, Besa, Kharbi, Hingana, Khapa, Beltarodi and Gondhni are virtually dry and dependent on water supply through tankers.
According to a non-government organisation, the drought situation is not new to the region since it occurs almost every or alternate year.
Some drastic initiatives including proper water management and alternatives like desalinaton of seawater and its usage needs to be taken, they said.
Also, processed seawater can be used for non-drinking facilities including irrigation and other domestic use, the NGO suggested.