As drought hits nearly half of Gujarat and minor canals connected to Narmada canal run dry in many regions in the state,Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) has extended the period to supply water to farmers to irrigate their standing summer crops by at least two weeks more.
Out of 22,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) water that the Sardar Sarovar dam is currently receiving,which has reduced with the arrival of summer season,6,600 cusecs are being released into the main canal for both drinking and irrigation purposes. A large portion of the water being released into the main canal is being consumed by the farmers to irrigate agricultural land for standing summer crop,a top SSNNL official said.
Generally,the SSNNL provides water to farmers for irrigation purpose between October 1 and March 31,then close the line as summer approaches. However,this year,the SSNNL,a state government undertaking operating the Narmada dam,has decided to extended date by a fortnight to April 15 as a way to offer concession to farmers affected by drought that has dried out or reduced the level of underground water and minor canals.
State government has given instructions to SSNNL officials to continue with the supply of water for irrigation for at least two more weeks so farmers could get the required amount to irrigate their summer crop. Water for irrigation is supplied through minor canals attached to Narmada main canal in different regions.
This is a concession for farmers to irrigate crop for 15 more days. Water inflow in the canal has reduced starting April 1,but the government has decided to give concession to farmers for their standing summer crop. Maybe after that,the government will not tolerate any withdrawal of water from the canal, the official said. As against 2,000 cusecs of water being released for drinking purpose,over 4,000 cusecs are being released for irrigation,he said.
We expect to close the flow of water into minor canal for irrigation by April 15. Supply of water for drinking purposes will continue, he said. Water crisis has deepened in many regions of Saurashtra,Kutch,and north Gujarat,with several dams and canals running dry,making it hard for farmers to irrigate land and civic body to supply drinking water.