A water shortage in Mumbai, India could prove to pretty much ruin Holi, a Hindu festival which is celebrated with rain dances and colored powder paint fights.
Due to the water shortage, authorities in Mumbai have ordered those celebrating Holi to not squander the city’s precious drinking water. Authorities have also threatened to arrest those caught doing otherwise.
Holi, also referred to as the Festival of Colors, marks the end of the winter season, heralding the advent of spring. Holi is very popular in the northern parts of India as well as with Hindu populations living across the world.
In 2009, India experienced the worst of monsoon rains recorded after 1972 – which saw water levels in six major lakes responsible for supplying water to Mumbai plunging to alarming levels. The situation was so bad, that, officials at one instance warned residents that certain suburbs would only have water for twenty days.
June is when the annual monsoons are scheduled to take place. Authorities are worried that another disastrous monsoon could occur again, and have already taken measures to conserve water in such a case. This includes turning off the water supply completely in selected areas once a week.
Anil Diggikar, a local government official stated that since the city is suffering from water supply issues, residents should avoid using precious drinking water for non potable reasons like rain dances and other activities during Holi and other instances as well.
The municipal authorities are in the process of forming teams to carry out strict inspections during Holi celebrations. Shraddha Jadhav, mayor of Mumbai said that even though most of the Holi celebrations are organized by cooperative housing societies which will not provide water for rain dances; it was a necessity to have special teams to ensure water is preserved. The Mayor also remarked that the misuse of water should be made a criminal offence.