The Maharashtra government may have opted out of two joint interlinking projects with Gujarat, but it will still need the latter’s consent for implementing a river link that it now has planned to do on its own.
On July 31, the Maharashtra government had decided to walk out of the two river linking projects — Par-Tapi-Narmada and Damanganga-Pinjal — it was to execute with Gujarat, citing delay in implementation.
On the same day, it had announced that it would implement the Damanganga-Pinjal (D-P) link independently to augment Mumbai’s water supply.
The D-P link envisages transfer of surplus flows from the Bhugad reservoir and the Khargihill reservoirs in the Damanganga basin to Mumbai via the Pinjal river in the Vaitarna basin.
The project, likely to cost Rs 2,800 crore, involves construction of two dams and building of three gravity-run tunnels to ensure that the surplus water from the reservoirs is emptied in the Tansa reservoir in Vaitarna basin, which already caters to Mumbai’s domestic water supply.
One of the dams that needs to be built falls in Gujarat. It will come up in Valsad’s Kaprada taluka.
Officials said about 55 per cent of the area to be submerged due to the dam project is also situated in the Gujarat taluka. The original feasibility report drawn by the Centre’s National Water Development Agency for the joint interlinking project had stated that families residing in 14 villages of Gujarat will be affected by the project.
“The issue of compensating the neighbouring state for the quantity of water contributed from its catchment area and for the rehabilitation of the project affected will come up at some point. We will also need their consent for construction of the dam in Karpada. An MoU will have to be executed with them,” said a senior official.
Owing to these complications, Maharashtra has continued to identify this D-P link as an “inter-state” project despite its decision to develop it independently. Once commissioned, the link is expected to provide an additional 2,451 million litres of water daily to Mumbai. The dam in Valsad is proposed to be 69.42 m high.
A deadlock between the two states over the issue of compensating Maharashtra for the quantity of water (15.32 thousand million cubic feet) contributed from its catchments for the Par-Tapi-Narmada link had delayed the finalisation of the water-sharing pact in the project between the two states, which ultimately led to Maharashtra walking out of it on July 31.