In the drought-stricken states on Indian, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has stepped in to provide twenty-five hard-rock drilling rigs for emergency water supplies.
In the drought-stricken states on Indian, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has stepped in to provide twenty-five hard-rock drilling rigs for emergency water supplies. The rigs were provided under Operation Aquavitse launched by UNICEF at the request of the Indian Government to provide drinking water for children in dry rural areas.
More than 27,000 villages with a population of 30 million in the states of Gujarat, Maharastra, Rajasthan, Maysore and Madhya Pradesh are suffering an acute shortage of drinking water as a result of the failure of the 1972 monsoon rains. In the worst affected states, the monsoon has failed for three successive years, and some villages have been abandoned. In others, minimal quantities of water are being brought in by truck.
The new drilling rigs -- purchased in Sweden at a cost of one-million dollars -- are powered by compressed air, and are capable of drilling to a depth of two-hundred feet through hard rock in one or two days. Similar rigs first proved their ability in the devastating drought of 1966-67 in the states of Bihar and Utta Pradesh.
Operation Aquavitse is supplementing the regular UNICEF drilling programme in India, which has provided some 9,000 wells since 1969.
The first ten rigs arrived by air from sweden in april, and were fitted to locally-procured trucks and air compressors. Sixty eight new drillers were trained in a "crash" course.
Funds for Operation Aquavitse have come from Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The total raised so far has reached one-million dollars.
The Indian Government has given 150 million rupees (nearly 20-million dollars US) to western and central states for drought relief measures.