A woman, face smeared with coloured powder, participates in Holi festivities in Mumbai on Monday. The Hindu Festival of Colours heralds the coming of spring. ((Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press))

Revellers celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi in the Indian city of Mumbai have been warned not to waste drinking water for traditional rain dances or water fights.

Municipal officials in India's financial capital issued the edict on Monday as a result of chronic water shortages in the city.

"As the city is reeling under a water shortage, people should avoid using drinking water for non-potable purposes, especially rain dances," local official Anil Diggikar told the Hindustan Times on Friday.

The call for restraint comes as much of the country celebrates Holi, or the Festival of Colours, the public holiday to mark the arrival of spring.

It's a celebration not normally associated with restraint, as adults and children alike play with coloured powders and splash one another with dyed water.

But municipal authorities are concerned about the strain it might put on the city's resources, since water is used not only during the celebrations, but also in the cleanup that follows.

Mumbai officials also decided not to provide water tankers for rain dances on Monday in an effort to curb waste.

Last year India suffered its most meagre monsoon rains since 1972, causing water levels to plunge at six lakes the city of over 13 million people relies on. Municipal officials at one point warned that some suburbs had only 20 days of water left.

A study released in November suggested India's water needs are expected to double by 2030 as its population — already over one billion — continues to grow.