Parts of India are enduring one of the worsts droughts the country has seen in four decades, with some 330 million people suffering from the severe water shortages – a quarter of the national population. Reservoirs have been emptied, livestock is scarce and crops have been damaged. People are travelling miles to collect water, which they then have to filter because it's usually polluted. For months, villages and towns have seen supplies of tap water halted, with some not having access for nearly two years.

India drought
Residents push a bicycle loaded with water containers through a field in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters

Unemployed labourer Haribhau Kamble told Reuters he stood in a queue for three hours so he could fill two plastic pitchers from a government water tap. "They say water has been brought by railway wagons and dispatched through tankers," he said. "All this they say to the media, but in this part of the city, one water tanker makes a trip only after eight days. It gives water to people having coupons for 200 litres, but other people don't get it as they don't have coupons. Only after eight days people get water by tankers."

India drought
A man stands in front of a tanker wagon carrying water at a railway station in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
Residents climb a government-run water tanker with plastic hoses in Masurdi village in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
Residents hold plastic hoses as they fetch water from a government-run water tanker in Masurdi village in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
Farmers burn dried up cotton in a field at Chandampet Mandal in Nalgonda east of HyderabadNoah Seelam/ AFP
India drought
A man carrying a plastic container filled with walks past water tanks in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
A woman from Bhopura, Uttar Pradesh carries drinking water containers, filled from taps situated across the state border on the outskirts of New DelhiPrakash Singh/ AFP

India is home to 17% of the world's population, yet there is only 4% of fresh rainwater resources available. According to activists involved in water conservation, had the state government reserved sources for drinking water in 2015, the current water crisis would not have been so big.

Yet despite being shown images of water delivery in media, the reality of how much water is received in poorer areas is not nearly enough. Many reservoirs now hold 3% of their capacity, and the state is using 4,012 tankers to supply water to 7,862 villages and hamlets.

In the state of Marathwada, farmer suicides have nearly doubled this year. The severe water shortage is set to worsen in the coming months, as summer temperatures will soar above 40C.

India drought
Residents wait to fill their containers with water in a field in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
Fatima Mulani uses a hand-pump to collect water at a primary health centre in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
Buffalos graze in dried-up Chandola Lake in AhmedabadAmit Dave/ Reuters
India drought
Residents hold plastic hoses as they fetch water from a government-run water tanker in Masurdi village, in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
A dog drinks water from a puddle of water next to the cracked soil at Manjara Dam in OsmanabadDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
A girl carries a metal pitcher filled with water through a field in LaturDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
People fill their containers with water at a village in OsmanabadDanish Siddiqui/ Reuters
India drought
Indian Lambadi tribal villagers fill drinking water from a leaking pipe on a roadside at Chandampet Mandal in Nalgonda, east of HyderabadNoah Seelam/ AFP
India drought
An Indian woman tries to filter polluted well water with her sari as a child drinks during a water crisis in the Shankargarh area, 45km away from AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/ AFP
India drought
A woman tries to filter polluted well water with her sari as she drinks during a water crisis in the Shankargarh areaSanjay Kanojia/ AFP
India drought
A man collects drinking water from a plastic container which is fixed on to a bullock cart at Chandampet Mandal in Nalgonda, east of HyderabadNoah Seelam/ AFP
India drought
A Lambadi tribal villager carries full water containers as others fill drinking water from a leaking pipe on a roadside at Chandampet Mandal in Nalgonda, east of HyderabadNoah Seelam/ AFP
India drought
A farmer walks with his cattle at Chandampet Mandal in Nalgonda, east of HyderabadNoah Seelam/ AFP
India drought
A farmer walks across a dried up field at Chandampet Mandal in Nalgonda, east of HyderabadNoah Seelam/ AFP