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Dams only half-filled, irrigation woes loom

According to official figures, only 53 per cent water is available on average in 202 dams in the state, excluding the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar |
December 30, 2015 12:54:56 am
gujarat farmers, CM anandiben patel, anandiben patel, dwarka event,water for irrigation, water for irrigation in Gujarat, sardar sarovar dam, gujarat news Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.

Farmers in the state are bracing for scarcity of water for irrigation due to insufficient rainfall this year.

Warning farmers of the impending trouble, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel at a public event in Dwarka on Sunday had said the state government next year may not be able to provide water for irrigation. According to official figures, only 53 per cent water is available on average in 202 dams in the state, excluding the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

The situation is worse in Kutch and Saurashtra, according to the Water Resources Department. The two regions have157 dams with storage capacities of 332 million cubic metre (MCM) and 2,526 MCM, respectively. Kutch and Saurashtra, however, have only 186 (56%) and 811 (32%) MCM water left in the dams.

North Gujarat, central Gujarat and south Gujarat are in a relatively better situation. These regions have 45 dams, which together have a storage capacity of 12,905 MCM. 7,352 MCM water is currently left in these dams. The Sardar Sarovar Dam has available storage of 4,365 MCM against the capacity of 5,265.84 MCM.

Government sources said their priority is drinking water and hence, not much water will be available for irrigation.

The Chief Minister has advised farmers that only those having their own facility to irrigate fields should go for sowing.

Experts in the government said in the upcoming season, farmers should not only go for less water-intensive crops, but also opt for alternate irrigation technologies like drip and sprinkle irrigation. “Politically, the CM has done the right thing by issuing an advisory to farmers not to go for sowing without assured irrigation water,” said a senior government functionary.

However, Congress’s Manish Doshi said: “In Gujarat, due to lack of proper planning and administration, six million acre feet water of Narmada is not being used… Due to the negligence and lack of will of the BJP government, the construction work of 50,000 km canal is incomplete.”

Rejecting Congress allegations, chief of Gujarat BJP’s Kisan Cell Babubhai Jebaliya said: “It is this BJP government which has endeavored to solve the irrigation issue through check dams, khet talavadis, Narmada Yojana and SAUNI Yojana.”

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