Thirst is Marathwada’s greatest crop this season. Forget sugarcane. Thirst, human and industrial, eclipses anything else. Those harvesting it reap tens of millions of rupees each day across the region. The van loads of dried-out cane you see on the roads could end up at cattle camps as fodder. The countless “tankers” you see on the same roads are making it to the towns, villages and industries for profit. Water markets are the biggest things around. Tankers are their symbol.

Thousands of them criss-cross Marathwada daily, collecting, transporting and selling water. Those contracted by the government are a minority and some of them exist only on paper. It’s the privately-operated ones that are crucial to rapidly expanding water markets. Read More