Maharashtra government reverts to village wells to combat drought in Marathwada

Officials asked to reserve 10% water from dams, tankers, rivers and wells for animals.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Updated: April 9, 2016 8:23:30 am
drought, maharashtra drought, drought marathwada, devendra fadnavis, fadnavis govt, mumbai news, indian express CM Devendra Fadnavis at a cattle camp Wednesday. Express

THE STATE government has decided to reserve 10 per cent water from dams, rivers and wells for animals in every village across the drought-stricken Marathwada.

The decision to consider village wells as the main water source is also being revisited in the wake of drying up dam water and monsoon failure.

After visiting cattle camps in Osmanabad and Beed districts Wednesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The water management will have to be done considering a village as a unit and not a district or a region. Also the dependence of existing wells to sustain the drinking water supply should be reworked to make the most of the available water.”

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He added, “The state has prepared a plan for water supply not only district wise but also village wise. We have also directed the administration to reserve 10 per cent additional water for animals. It is for the first time in the history of the state that fodder camps are operational in the month of August.”

The chief minister emphasised on tapping well water in every village to tackle the scarcity. Every gram sabha will be asked to fill a form to provide information on the number of wells in the village. In villages where wells have dried up, water from wells in the neighbourhood would be used. The project will also use scientific methods to see the water of how many well could be declared potable.

Another major decision of the government relates to the mammoth well-recharge project across 12,000 villages encompassing Marathwada. This project will serve long term if it rains before the complete monsoon withdrawal. Out of 40,000 villages, almost 24,000 are reeling under drought across Marathwada, parts of North Maharashtra and Western Maharashtra.

In Osmanabad, Beed and Latur districts, more than 50,000 well recharge projects will be undertaken through the national employment guarantee scheme.

Every well recharge scheme will require Rs 14,500. District officials have been asked to visit villages to draw people to work under the scheme for well-recharge projects.

“Our priority is to tackle water and fodder and its meticulous planning village wise,” said Osmanabad District Collector Prashnat Narnawre.
Expressing concern over the deteriorating water situation in Marathwada, Fadnvais said, “The state government will provide the required infrastructure to maximise utility of water flowing from the Krishna river basin to neighbouring Karanataka within our existing dams through diversion. The barrages along the Sinalokegaon (Domgaon) in Osmanabad district have been pending for the last 10 years, which would be taken on priority.” He visited more than 25 villages Wednesday, the second day of his Marathwada tour.

To combat drought, the administration is also planning to double the lifting of water from dams outside the affected districts. The water lifted from Ujjani would be doubled from 8 MLD to 16 MLD if the situation got worse in Marathwada, said a senior officer.
Accordingly, directives have been issued to the irrigation department to strictly monitor use of dam water so that it is not diverted for agriculture and industries.

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