While the prolonged rains in Maharashtra have led to destruction of crops in many parts of the State, it has also given authorities a breather in tackling drought.According to the drought prediction survey 2019-20, prepared by the Groundwater Surveys and Development Agency (GSDA) of the State government, around 689 villages in 14 tehsils of the State could face water scarcity in 2020. Of these 359 villages may face the problem from January while the rest from April 2020. The survey was released in the first week of November and is available online.As per the survey, the villages which might face water scarcity in 2020 are in Latur, Osmanabad, Solapur, Parbhani, Yavatmal, Amaravati and Chandrapur districts. The GSDA survey for 2018-19 had estimated that 11,487 villages from 167 tehsils would face water scarcity due to rainfall deficit. For this year’s survey, the GSDA had set up 32,769 observation wells where the water levels were measured till October-end. According to the survey, entire Konkan region including Mumbai, Kolhapur, Bhandara, Gondia, and Gadchiroli fall in the region which received more than 1200 mm rainfall while Pune, Satara, Nasik, Nandurbar, Latur, Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded, Amaravati, Washim, Yavatmal, Nagpur, Wardha and Chandrapur receieve around 1200 mm to 700 mm rainfall. The rest of the State falls in the less than 700 mm rainfall category. “Earlier, the prediction was broadly based on merely 32,00 observation wells. But considering the size of the State, we decided to set up 32,769 wells this time. These were geo-tagged with Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre. The gram panchayat and jal surakshaks were given training. As a result, this report is a product of a survey from almost every village in the State,” said Kaustubh Diwegaonkar, Director, GSDA. He added that the survey will help plan and prepare for drought mitigation methods. “We will be updating the report after incorporating latest reports following the total withdrawal of rains by January,” he added. Considering the geography of Maharashtra, 28% area is a highly dissected plateau, which includes Konkan, western ghats and other hilly regions. At least 44% area is moderately dissected plateau with medium water seepage capacity. The rest of the 28% area is undissected plateau and/or valley fill where groundwater availability is higher. In addition, 82% of the State consists of balsamic rock which has the capacity to store merely 1 to 3% water. Metamorphic rock covers 10% region which too does not hold water. Of the remaining 8%, around 5.5% is sedimentary rock while rest is alluvium where water storage is considerably good, around 5 to 10%.