While the Marathwada region has only three per cent storage in dams, the rural areas of Pune district which did not receive water released from dams due to low storage have demanded that it be released for drinking purposes through canals. However, with the four dams supplying water to Pune city having only 19.08 per cent storage, the city administration is unwilling to take a further water cut to accommodate the villages along Daund and Indapur. A final decision on whether water will be released to Daund and Indapur talukas will be taken in a meeting on April 27.
In a preliminary meeting held in the presence of Pune mayor, irrigation department officials, district officials and guardian minister Girish Bapat, the mayor ruled out any further water cut for the city. Bapat said that a meeting will be conducted again to resolve the matter as the villages are being heavily affected and water needs to be released from the canal for drinking purposes.
According to irrigation officials, the four dams supplying water to the city – Khadakwasla, Panshet, Temghar and Varasgaon – have 5.56 TMC (19.08 per cent) storage and till July 15, the corporation will require 3.77 TMC with the alternate day water supply. Gram panchayats, industries and municipal councils will take another 0.27 TMC, evaporation losses another 0.89 TMC and for the canal another 0.30 TMC. This will leave 0.42 TMC, which would be very difficult for Pune city.
“The demand of the villages is at least 1.60 TMC as there is severe scarcity. We have asked the PMC to work out some way to save one TMC so that it can be given to the villages. The preliminary meeting did not see any breakthrough and we are hoping that the second meeting will yield some results. The villagers usually receive the rotation through the canal during this time and if that is not done it would be difficult for them,” said irrigation officials.
They added that there is a lot of loss of water released through the existing canal because of the leakages, so they would have to release water through a closed pipeline from Khadakwasla to Parvati. However, the closed pipeline will be ready to operate only by this month’s end which will further delay the water supply.
Pune Mayor Prashant Jagtap said that he understands the predicament of the villagers but in the present situation, the city people are already facing water cuts and they cannot suffer more of these. “In the present scenario, they should be giving water through tankers to the villagers and we should help the district administration meet their demand,” he said. He added that if the water is released through the canal, water loss would happen and there is also the concern that it would be used for irrigation purposes. “In the situation where the water levels are depleting, it is better that the district administration acts and sticks to giving water through tankers. However, a final solution will be taken in the second meeting regarding water supply to the villages,” he said.
Meanwhile, the district administration has been faced with requests from all the parched areas and are supplying tankers to the affected areas. The usual rotation in the month of April was not given to these villages and with the scarcity situation, they had again approached the administration demanding drinking water.