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These Photos Show Just How Bad India’s Water Crisis Has Become

As taps run dry and a riverbed gets used as a parking lot, the country battles a drought of epic proportions.

by VICE India Staff
22 June 2019, 8:40am

Women fetch water from an opening made by residents at a dried-up lake in Chennai, India. Photo: REUTERS/P. Ravikumar

This article originally appeared on VICE India

India is currently caught in the throngs of an unprecedented water crisis. As southern and western regions of the country face catastrophic drought-like conditions, taps are running dry in both, rural and urban areas, with drying reservoirs and low groundwater levels being major concerns.

In Maharashtra, there has been a 283 percent rise in water tanker demand. In Chennai, lakhs of employees have been asked to work from home as offices don’t have water for even normal operations. In Gujarat, the dry riverbed of the Narmada is being used as a parking lot. In Madhya Pradesh, cops have been told to escort and guard water tankers after clashes over water distribution were reported. While the on-ground situation is already pretty scary, the delayed onset of the monsoon and reports that say that 21 cities will run out of groundwater by 2020 put us even more on edge.

Even as some remain oblivious to the crisis—like Virat Kohli’s domestic help who was caught and fined for washing a car with drinking water, and Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Shekhawat who recently said that the scarcity is only a hype created by the media—these pictures prove otherwise.

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A woman fetches water from an opening made to filter water next to a polluted lake in Thane. Photo: REUTERS/Prashant Waydande
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Residents fill their containers with drinking water from a municipal tanker in New Delhi. Photo: REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
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Women throw earthen pitchers onto the ground in protest against the shortage of drinking water outside the municipal corporation office in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Photo: REUTERS/Amit Dave
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A woman carries pitchers to fetch water from an opening made to filter water next to a polluted lake in Thane, India. Photo: REUTERS/Prashant Waydande
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Local residents wait in a queue to collect drinking water from a municipal corporation water tanker on a hot summer day on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Photo: REUTERS/Amit Dave