This year, 5,000 new villages will be brought under the Jalyukta Shivar, a water conservation scheme launched by the Maharashtra government two years ago. Of over 40,000 villages in the state, this scheme is being practised successfully in 11,494 villages.
Based on feedback and ground reports over the last two years, the state government has allotted Rs 1,200 crore for continuing the water conservation project in 2017-2018.
Following two consecutive seasons of poor monsoon in 2014 and 2015, the state government had introduced Jalyukta Shivar in December 2015.
Of the Rs 200 crore that has been disbursed, Pune region has been allocated Rs 33.81 crore. This will be meant for introducing water conservation works at approximately 1,000 new villages in Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur.
This year, Pune, Solapur and Satara have been allotted close to Rs 10 crore each. Last year, 825 villages were covered under the scheme. The programme’s first results were seen in 2016, when the farming community could undertake full-fledged cultivation, one of the prime reasons being opting for this water conservation scheme.
Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) has hailed this initiative.
According to hydrologists, this initiative has come to the rescue of scores of farmers, particularly at the time when water was really scarce.
“The groundwater levels saw marked improvements in areas where Jalyukta Shivar was initiated. Marathwada and Vidarbha, where groundwater tables begin to fall by January itself, have of late been retaining water even until April, in some places,” the officials noted.
Latur, Osmanabad and Beed are among those districts that have been allotted the highest amounts for introducing this during 2017-2018. Last year, 1,518 villages in Marathwada benefited from this scheme.