The Indian government is facing increasing criticism for the way it is managing the water crisis, as well as for the water consumption levels it has imposed.
As of March, India had more than 10.2 billion people, a third of the world’s population, and the worst drought in more than 70 years.
But many in India, especially the rural poor, worry about their water supply and want to avoid problems with rationing and overuse.
Al Jazeera spoke to three people from the country’s rural areas to find out what they think of the water rationing that has become widespread in the country and how they are coping with the water shortages.
They are: Manjinder Singh, a farmer from Bhagalpur village in the southern state of Assam who lives near a reservoir, said the water meter he uses for irrigation is not working properly.
He and other farmers in the area are rationing water.
“I have three wells that run out of water, one for my crops and one for irrigation,” he said.
“We have a lot of crops, and we have no water.
What can we do?
We have no choice.”
He said the government has told him that it will take action against his farm if he does not stop his water usage.
“They are giving us money, but it is not enough.
If we do not stop our water usage, they will take us to court.
The water is very precious and we do have to take it,” he told Al Jazeera.
His farm is one of a few in the state where farmers have been unable to irrigate crops due to a shortage of water.
Water rationing has become a common practice in some parts of the country in recent years.
In the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, farmers are facing similar problems as they are forced to cut back their water use in order to feed their families.
In 2017, water levels in the Durg village in Uttar Pradesh’s Uttar Pradesh state fell to nearly 20 per cent below normal, according to local government authorities.
According to data compiled by the Indian Statistical Department, water usage was 20.6 per cent lower in 2016 than in the previous year.
In April, the state government announced that it would be raising the monthly water consumption for the state’s rural population from 15 to 20 litres of water per household per day.
In September, a group of farmers in Uttarabad district of the northern state of Maharashtra raised a protest over water restrictions imposed by the state authorities.
They demanded the immediate return of the drinking water to the farmers in their village and the end of the rationing scheme.
In July, in the northeastern state of Manipur, a protest was also held by some farmers in a village over the restrictions imposed on them.
The state government has faced criticism for not making it easier for farmers to reduce their water consumption.
The rural population in Manipur has been living in poverty for years.
It was declared a disaster area in December 2015 and declared a state of emergency in January 2016.
Many farmers have already cut down on water use and even stopped watering their crops.
“Since the water restriction, we have stopped watering our crops.
We have stopped buying vegetables, we stopped buying fruits, we cut down our irrigation,” farmer Dusu Kumar said.
Dusur Kumar said he had no choice but to cut down his water consumption by 80 per cent after his water meter began malfunctioning in March.
“The water meter stopped working on April 20.
I got angry because the meter was not working, and I stopped using the water,” he added.
“It was just a few days ago, and it was a big problem.
I have to pay Rs 1,000 (US$13) for a meter.
The government should give us a refund.”
In other parts of India, the drought has had severe consequences for the poor.
In Maharashtra, the most densely populated state in India with a population of almost 6 million people, the rural population has been suffering from water shortages for the past two years.
The drought has also affected the agricultural sector, as farmers and other small-scale industries have struggled to grow their produce amid the severe water restrictions.
As farmers in Maharashtra have been rationing their water usage by 80 to 100 per cent, they have been faced with a financial hardship.
The lack of money has forced them to sell their crops, as prices have been reduced by a quarter or more in some cases.
In January, the Maharashtra government announced a three-year drought relief programme.
“In the past six months, the government was able to reduce the water usage of farmers by 30 to 50 per cent,” state agricultural department director-general Kalyan Jadhav told Al Jazeera.
“So in the last three months, we’ve reduced the use of water by more than 60 per cent.
In other words, the number of farmers who are in dire need has been reduced significantly.”