New Delhi: The Centre has asked the states to prepare a contingency plan on drinking water supply as it moves to deal with the drought-like situation in the country arising out of a deficit monsoon this year.
The Centre`s directive comes amidst reports of acute water shortage in many parts of the country due to the deficient rainfall in the wet season.
According to a private forecasting agency, the national cumulative average for rainfall in June is deficient by a whopping 42 per cent, making it only the 12th instance in the past 113 years when the shortfall has been over 30 per cent in the month.
States like Gujarat and Rajasthan are facing an over 80 per cent rainfall deficit.
A senior official in the Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry said that the government was monitoring the water supply situation in the states "very closely".
"Now, it has been decided that the State Water Supply Contingency Plan as well as the District Water Supply Contingency Plans for each state must be uploaded on the website of the Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry," the official said.
These plans will be available in the public domain, he added. Centre has urged the states to give this objective the "top priority".
As per Ministry data, nearly 90 per cent of the rural water supply comes from groundwater sources which, for recharge, depend on rainfall, canals, surface water bodies, irrigated fields, water conservation structures, etc.
Data released by World Bank states that India is the largest consumer of groundwater in the world with an estimated usage of 230 km3 per year.
Approximately 60 per cent of the demand for agriculture and irrigation and 80 per cent of domestic water needs is met through groundwater, says World Bank.