Every day dozens of villagers in the parched corner of the Indian state of Rajasthan wait for hours a day for a special train that delivers water.

Afroz misses school every day to wait for hours with a cart full of containers, a special train that will bring precious water to people suffering from the heat in the desert state of India Rajasthan.

Temperatures here often exceed 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), but this year the heat came early, which many experts say is more proof climate change makes life unbearable for India’s 1.4 billion people.

“It’s always been very hot here, and we’ve always fought for it water“13-year-old Afroz told AFP while waiting for a special train in the Pali area for the second time that day.

“But I don’t remember filling the containers in April.”

For more than three weeks, the 40-car train, which carries about 2 million liters, is the only source of water for thousands of people in the area.


Every day dozens of people – mostly women and children – are pushed with blue plastic canisters and metal pots to fill the water from the hoses that gushed from the army-green train into the underground tank.

Water has been delivered by train to Pali before, but according to local railway officials, the water shortage was critical in April this year, so they started early.

Wagons – filled in Jodhpur, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) – are first emptied into a cement storage tank from which water is sent to sewage treatment plants for filtering and spreading.

Tanks of special trains are filled in Jodhpur, about 65 kilometers away

The cars of the special train are filled in Jodhpur, about 65 kilometers away.

But the Afroz family and many like them make life easier when they fill up right from the tanks despite the untreated water.

Most families are struck by the fact that their children occasionally miss school to provide water in the home.

“I can’t ask the breadwinner to help me. Otherwise we will fight for both food and water,” said Afroza’s mother Nur Jahan, filling an aluminum pot.

“It affects my child’s education, but what should I do? I can’t carry all these containers myself,” she told AFP.

Cracks in the legs

Hundreds of millions of people in South Asia have experienced heat in early summer in recent weeks, and India has had the warmest March of all time.

In India and Pakistan, “more intense heat waves are projected to last longer and occur more frequently,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a recent landmark report.

“Cascading impacts” of heat waves on agricultural productswater, energy supply and other sectors are already clear, World Meteorological Organization chief Peter Taolas said this month.

On Friday, India banned the export of wheat needed to fill supply shortages due to the war in Ukraine, partly due to the heat.

The local pond near Pali, which has long been the main source of water for residents and their livestock, has been dry for almost two

The local pond near Pali, which has long been a major source of water for residents and their livestock, has been dry for nearly two years.

Together, high humidity and the heat can create such a harsh “wet bulb temperature” that sweating no longer cools people, potentially killing a healthy adult within hours.

“I’ve already made three trips home in the last hour. And I’m the only one who can do it,” said Lakshmi, another woman who collects water, pointing to cracks in her legs.

“We don’t have direct water to our homes, and it’s so hot. What should we do if something happens to us while we’re walking on the water?”

“Extreme exhaustion”

In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious Jal Jeevan (Water Life) mission, promising a functional tap connection for all households in rural India by 2024.

But less than 50 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water, according to UNICEF, with two-thirds of India’s 718 counties affected by “extreme water depletion.”

A little further from Pali, 68-year-old Shivaram walked along the cracked bottom of a dried-up pond in the village of Bandai, his bright pink turban shielding his head from the scorching sun.

The pond, which has been a major source of water for both residents and their animals, has been dry for nearly two years due to low rainfall. The shells of dead turtles cover the cracked mud.

“Farmers have been hit hard,” Shivarom said. – Some of our animals also died.

Northwest India embraces unusual early heat

© 2022 AFP

Citation: Waiting for a water train in scorching India (2022, May 17) received May 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-05-india.html

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