Owing to delayed monsoon and depleting level of water in state’s reservoirs, the state irrigation authorities have stopped irrigation water supply from major dams to ensure that there is no shortage of drinking water. Irrigation water from Saurashtra’s major dams, like Bhadar and Machchu, were stopped more than a week ago.
Chief Engineer for irrigation (Saurashtra) C V Nadpara told The Indian Express that with the storage level of water in Saurashtra reservoirs going below 15 per cent, irrigation water supply had been stopped to ensure that the region did not face drinking water crisis due to delay of monsoons.“We have asked the dam engineers to use the available water very judiciously so that people did not face drinking water problem,” said Nadpura.
State irrigation department officials said that orders had been issued to Ukai dam authorities in Tapi district to stop supplying irrigation water in view of more than three weeks of delay in the arrival of the monsoon.Chief engineer (south) M P Raval said that the availability of water in Ukai dam was now only 30 per cent of its total gross storage capacity. “Irrigation water will be given only up to July 9. We will discontinue irrigation water supply if monsoon does not hit the state by that date,” he said. Ukai dam is the only source of water for Surat city, which has a population of about 40 lakh, and nearby towns.
Irrigation water supply from Kadana dam in the Panchmahals had been stopped from June 10 itself because the dam caters to the water supply of all the towns and villages in Kadana taluka and nearby areas. An official connected with the management of the dam, when contacted, said that some farmers had approached them to release water for fodder crops.
“We are holding a meeting with farmers on July 8 when we will decide whether to release water irrigation or not because our first priority is the supply of drinking water. Since we are getting reports of poor monsoon this season, we want to preserve water for drinking purposes,” said the official.
The water level in other dams have also gone down extremely. According to figures provided by the Narmada Water Resources and Water Supply department, the water level in Dharoi (Mehsana), Karjan (Narmada district), Damanganga (Valsad), Shetrungji (Bhavnagar) and Machchhu-I (Morbi) have gone down to 20 per cent, 37 per cent, 18 per cent, 16 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively, of their gross storage capacity. Monsoon in the state is expected to arrive by July 10 or afterwards.