17 October 2012
Last updated at 01:06
With little coverage in the media, many believe the ongoing water shortages in India's western state of Maharashtra is the drought that India forgot. Photographer Arko Datto has been documenting the situation there.
Only four of the state's 35 districts have received their full monsoon rainfall. Tens of thousands of villagers have been affected, mostly in the three districts of Thane, Satara and Vidarbha. Officials say that it is even worse than a severe drought of 1972.
With wells almost completely dry, a trickle of water is all that many villagers have access to - even then they often have to wait for hours to collect a sufficient amount.
Frustrated with not having enough water and facing what many believe is continued neglect by the government, this villager takes it upon himself to dig and find water.
In a drought as severe as this, there is a serious danger of people and livestock dying of thirst. The priority of the authorities is to provide water and cattle fodder to households and farms by any means available.
Although the government installed water tanks in Dengkarmal village - near Kasara, Maharashtra - the tankers delivering water to them have not arrived, so they have remained empty. The result is that women of the village have no alternative but to walk and gather water if they are to survive.
The only way for the women to reach the water is down a steep hill to this well deep inside the forest. In some cases, people have to walk around 5-10km (3 to 6 miles) to get drinking water.
It has become impossible for farmers to harvest their crops, adding to food and fodder shortages. For many farmers, losing their crops or their livestock means financial disaster.
One of the two reservoirs in the area has dried up while the other is believed to be polluted. An estimated 40% of villages now rely on supplies delivered by water tankers.
Critics say the drought shows that policy makers have not made adequate plans for delivering water. As a result, they are left with no other option than to leave - not in search of employment but in search of water.
But where the government has failed, aid agencies have stepped in. This camp was set up by the Mann Deshi Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, provides much needed water and fodder relief to cattle.
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