The government has directed divisional commissioners and district collectors to check water levels in dams and decide about releasing water.
After assessing water levels in dam and rainfall over a week, a meeting was convened on Tuesday regarding Kukadi dam project and the demand of water in Pune, Ahmednagar and Solapur districts. The government has directed the irrigation department to consult divisional commissioners and collectors before the water is released.
A similar decision was taken in 2012 when monsoon took time to pick up in the state. This year, progress of monsoon has been delayed, though on Wednesday it picked up momentum in the coastal areas.
A senior official who attended the meeting said considering storage levels in dams, the collector or divisional commissioner would take a call on releasing water for irrigation or drinking and domestic use. “There are requests from villagers to release water for fields. Henceforth, the irrigation department would have to request the collector or the commissioner and water would be released after a final decision after discussion,” said the official.
In 2012, there was a demand for release of water for Daund. The decision was taken by the collector. The then collector Vikas Deshmukh had to take a decision to release 1 TMC water from Devghar dam to meet needs of areas downstream Pune. The situation in 2012 was similar where the dams, Khadakwasla, Kukadi and Neera Devghar, received less rainfall and storage was only 4.68 TMC. The decision to store 1 TMC in Veer dam was taken to cater to Indapur, Baramati, Saswad, Jejuri and Phaltan areas.
Officials said that for Kukadi project, water levels would be assessed first.
“We received requests from villagers of Pune, Ahmednagar and Solapur and the decision would be taken this week,” officials said.
Last year, with adequate rains, such a situation did not crop up. In 2012, in Daund and adjoining areas, 65,000 residents of Daund and around two lakh people from adjoining panchayats including Yevat, Varvand and Loni Kalbhor faced water shortage. It was left to the collector to take call.
Even as south west monsoon gained momentum, Met department said rains would cover interiors of the state. With heavy rains in Mumbai, the Met department stated that rains in Pune should begin from July 5-6. “Conditions are favourable for progress of south west monsoon in the state with a low pressure in the Bay of Bengal helping south west monsoon to progress,” said deputy director general of IMD, Pune, Medha Khole.
The district will continue supplying tankers to affected areas. In Pune, there are 75 tankers in operation.