BENGALURU: Waiting for the arrival of monsoon, Karnataka is buffeted by twin problems: Long dry spells leaving nearly 2,000 villages high and dry, and indiscriminate sand mining around major river basins turning towns prone to water crisis. Illegal dredgers have been scooping up huge quantities of sand from riverbeds for the construction industry. Unauthorised sand mining affects groundwater levels by taking away rivers’ ability to hold on to more of it. Stringent rules and restrictions, including orders by the Supreme Court, Karnataka high court and National Green Tribunal against excessive sand mining, have failed to curb the number of incidents.With drought-like conditions prevailing in 1,900 villages across 30 districts, the government has pressed more than 2,600 water tankers into service to ease the crisis. The drinking water scarcity was acute in 1,674 of the total 1,892 villages reeling from shortage.