Mumbai: The water table in as many as 249 villages in Marathwada region, reeling under acute drought, has depleted to such an extent that farmers there will have to wait for the next monsoon cycle for ground water levels to rise.
"The water table in these villages has depleted completely. It will rise only after the next monsoon cycle," an official from the ground water survey department said.
The number of such villages in Gangapur tehsil in Aurangabad district is 55. In 152 villages in Latur district, there is no water left to be pumped out for drinking or farming.
In Jalna district, 14 villages in Bhokardan and Jafrabad tehsils have shown zero ground water level, the official said.
In 17 villages of Kalamb and Osmanabad tehsil and in 11 villages of Omerga tehsil of Osmanabad district, the state administration has asked farmers not to undertake digging of borewells as there is no water to be pumped out.
The authorities are planning measures to increase water table in 19 areas where water table has depleted by over 90 per cent.
The number of debt-ridden farmers committing suicide in Marathwada rose significantly in November.
Maharashtra government recently sent a proposal of Rs 4,000 crore to the Centre seeking assistance in drought-hit regions, including Marathwada. Altogether 19,059 villages with less than 50 per cent yield are entitled to financial help under the relief measures.