The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) on Friday approved Gujarat government’s proposal to utilise water of Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam project through special Irrigation By-pass Tunnel (IBPT). Chief Minister Vijay Rupani declared that the NCA has given Gujarat permission to use the “dead water” of the dam following which there is no difficulty in providing drinking water to 10,000 villages and 167 urban bodies till July 31.
The IBPT is an option to be pressed when water level in the dam goes to a level when it is no more possible to provide water to the canals through gravitational force from the dam. For Sardar Sarovar dam, that limit is set at 110 metres, and the current water level of the dam is hovering around 111 metres. Following this, the Gujarat government had moved the proposal to continue to provide water, especially to the project’s command areas in Saurashtra region.
To get the “dead water”, the NCA’s permission is mandatory, which was granted to Gujarat in its meeting held in Delhi. Chief Secretary J N Singh, Additional Chief Secretary (Narmada) M S Dagur, Secretary (Water Resources) M K Jadav and Chairman & Managing Director of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited S S Rathore had represented Gujarat at the meeting.
“With the permission, the crisis of providing drinking water to Gujarat has been averted. Now, 10,000 villages and 167 urban bodies which get water from Narmada will not have any problem in getting drinking water till July 31,” said Rupani as he thanked partner states Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan for granting the permission.
By using the IBPT, water from the dam can be drawn to the canals even if the water level drops to 86 metres. However, Gujarat has to pay for the loss of power generation due to use of the IBPT.
Under the Sardar Sarovar Yojana, the total hydro power of 1450 MW is being generated. Out of the total 1,450 MW power, 250 MW power is being generated through Canal Head Powerhouse (CHP). And when IBPT is pressed into service, the CHP cannot generate 250 MW power. And this means, Gujarat has to pay compensation to the two other partner states — Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh — who get hydel power.
When asked about the compensation for the loss of hydel power generation, Rupani said, “That will be decided later.”
The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), which handles Narmda dam on behalf of Gujarat government, had earlier stated that Gujarat generally gets nine million acre feet water. However, this year, due to “drought” in Narmada basin, Gujarat has got only 4.71 million acre feet water as its share from the project.
MP govt refuses to release extra water in Narmada
Refusing to provide more water than the 14 million cubic metre (MCM) it is releasing every day in Narmada, the Madhya Pradesh government Friday asked Gujarat to meet its additional requirements by making use of the water stored in the Sardar Sarovar dam. “Due to deficient rains in the catchment area of the Narmada…it’s not possible to release more water as demanded by Gujarat,’’ the MP government said. (With inputs from Bhopal)