TIKAMGARH, India

Water Wars

Reuters: Armed Guards protect water in drought-ridden Indian city

TIKAMGARH, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Authorities in this drought-parched city in Madhya Pradesh have deployed round-the-clock armed guards at a river-fed community reservoir to prevent farmers from siphoning the remaining water for irrigation.
With rainfall in Tikamgarh district this year 52 percent below average — the second dry year for the area — water is now available to city residents only sporadically, with fears even that may run out during the peak heat months of May and June, authorities say.
Forty-seven-year-old Suryakant Tiwari, one city resident, said his family and many others now have drinking and household water supplied only once every five days.
“I have not seen such a condition in my lifetime. Almost every water source in the area has dried up. We don’t know how we will survive,” Tiwari he said.
Farmers have been prohibited from drawing water from reservoirs to irrigate their crops. But Tikamgarh Municipal Corporation officials fear farmers from adjoining Uttar Pradesh — whose farms border the Bari Ghat dam, fed by the Jumuniya River — are poaching water to try to keep their crops alive.