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Nashik’s sacred pond dries for the first time in 130 years

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Image source: www.dnaindia.com

Water scarcity in Maharashtra has left Nashik’s sacred Ramkund pond dry for the first time in 130 years.

Thousands of pilgrims expected to converge in Ramkund for a holy dip on Gudi Padwa on April 8 would be unable to do so.

“Tomorrow, (Friday) on the occasion of the auspicious Gudi Padwa, thousands of pilgrims expected to turn up at Ramkund will not be able to take the holy dip, at least till July-end,” Nashik Municipal Corporation’s Deputy Mayor Gurmeet Bagga told IANS.

The cemented Ramkund has now become a playground for children who play cricket and football there, Bagga said.

The civic body seems to have run out of options available to replenish the water in the holy reservoir in the river bed.

It is now toying with the idea of digging borewells on the river banks in a bid to replenish the Ramkund – which is also the main pilgrimage centre during the Kumbh Mela. However, the project depends on several factors, including religious sentiments and cost.

Besides, there is no guarantee that borewells will be a solution to the problem since the groundwater table in the district has plummeted, Bagga said.

The Purohit Sangh has now appealed to the Nashik Municipal Corporation authorities to arrange water to enable the priests and the faithfuls to perform the basic religious rituals on Friday.

The priests have suggested alternative water arrangements be made from some nearby reservoir to fill the Ramkund enough to facilitate the holy dips, but authorities are yet to respond.

At present, Bagga said, the corporation was supplying around 100 litres per head per day (LPHPD) to Nashik residents as against the national norm of 130 LPHPD, and soon this will dip to around 80 LPHPD due to acute water scarcity.

“Our target is to conserve water till the third week of July when heavy rains start and continue till mid-August to replenish the water bodies,” Bagga said.

Meanwhile, water scarcity has severely hit trade as well as summer tourism in the district. Several farmers have committed suicide in the state due to severe drought. (IANS)

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Flamingo Chicks In South Africa In Danger Due To The Drought

SANCCOB is one of several centers across South Africa caring for around 2,000 chicks that were rescued from the dam. 

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Flamingo Chicks
A rescued lesser flamingo chick is treated by officials after being moved from a dam in the Northern Cape province to the SANCCOB rehabilitation center in Cape Town, South Africa Jan. 30, 2019. VOA

Rescuers are moving hundreds of dehydrated lesser flamingo chicks from their breeding ground at a drought-stricken South African dam to a bird sanctuary in Cape Town, to save them from death by starvation and lack of water.

Their birthplace, Kamfers Dam in the Northern Cape, is one of only three breeding grounds for the famously pink birds in southern Africa, the other two being in Namibia and Botswana, according to researcher Katta Ludynia.

The rescued chicks take three to four months to fledge, and it is not yet clear whether they will eventually be released back into the wild in Cape Town or transported back hundreds of kilometers to their home in Kimberley, she said.

Flamingo CHicks
A rescued lesser flamingo chick is fed after being moved from Northern Cape province to the SANCCOB rehabilitation center in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 30, 2019. VOA

“There are still several thousand birds breeding in the dam in areas that still have water,” said Katta Ludynia, research manager at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). “It now depends on the water levels whether these birds will pull through.”

Ludynia said the sanctuary was caring for around 550 chicks, most of them dehydrated when they arrived Monday after having been abandoned by parents who went off in search of food.

The chicks are being moved to the sanctuary by plane and road.

Flamingo Chicks
A rescued lesser flamingo chick peers out of a box after being moved from a dam in the Northern Cape province to the SANCCOB rehabilitation center in Cape Town, South Africa Jan. 30, 2019. VOA

SANCCOB is one of several centers across South Africa caring for around 2,000 chicks that were rescued from the dam.

Also Read: A Rise in 2 degrees Celsius In Global Warming Could Cause Droughts

Although it hosts the biggest population of lesser flamingoes in southern Africa, Kamfers Dam, north of Kimberley, is often dry and depends mainly on rainwater. It also gets some water from a sewerage works that releases water into its wetlands.

“The dam in Kimberley is so important because it is manageable, so we can secure the water level there. That might be the only site the flamingos can breed in southern Africa, if the drought continues in other areas,” Ludynia said. (VOA)