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Thursday, April 09, 2020

Maharashtra: Water stock in 3,267 dams rises to over 63%

964 dams in drought-hit Marathwada region show quantum jump in water stock, from 9.01% to 55.24%.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Published: February 22, 2020 2:41:34 am
Maharashtra dams, dam water level, Maharashtra droughts, Maharashtra water storage, mumbai news, maharashtra news, indian express news As per the details provided by the department, the situation is upbeat even in Marathwada region, comprising eight districts, that was worst hit by the drought.

After recurring droughts, heavy rainfall coupled with water conservation works undertaken towards drought mitigation has replenished water stock in the 3,267 dams across Maharashtra, which have witnessed 29.01 percentage point increase in live water storage, officials in Water Resources Department said.

Of the total 40,897.95 million cubic metres storage capacity, dams in the state currently have 25,993.56 million cubic metres (Mcum) live water stock. In the third week of February, the total live water storage stood at 63.56 per cent, which was recorded at 34.55 per cent during the same period last year. In May last year, live water stock had depleted to 8,029.59 million cubic metres or 19.63 per cent.

“The state witnessed unusually heavy rains in 2019-20. Moreover, five lakh water structures, which were created under Jalyukta Shivar projects, over the last five years to tackle drought helped in arresting the depletion of groundwater and helping the dams to maximise its water stock,” a senior secretary of the Water Resource Department said.

As per the details provided by the department, the situation is upbeat even in Marathwada region, comprising eight districts, that was worst hit by the drought.

In Marathwada region (Aurangabad revenue division), which has 964 dams, the water stock has seen a quantum jump from the previous year’s 9.1 per cent to 55.24 per cent. Interestingly, Amravati and Nagpur divisions in Vidarbha region, which has witnessed several farmers suicides, also showed a remarkable increase in water storage of 22.35 per cent and 42.20 per cent, respectively.

The Amravati division (western Vidarbha) with 446 dams has 2,331.02 Mcum water. Whereas, Nagpur division with 384 dams currently holds 2,772.31 Mcum live water. The scenario in 176 dams in coastal Konkan also showed an improvement from 56.96 per cent recorded last year to 70.56 per cent this year.

The 571 dams in North Maharashtra (Nashik division), which is partially rain deficit, has 67.86 per cent live water stock. Last year, it was 31.91 per cent.

In western Maharashtra (Pune division), which is water surplus as compared to Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, has increased live water stock in its 726 dams, from 48.13 per cent recorded last year to 67.49 per cent this year.

Water management expert Pradeep Purandare, meanwhile, has cautioned against misuse of water by the sugarcane sector. Advocating harsh policy decisions on crop pattern to avoid quick depletion of water stock, which often leads to scarcity in the rain-shadow region of Marathwada and parts of Vidarbha, Purandare said, “The government will have to focus on effective water management. There should be a strict regulatory mechanism to monitor the use of dam water, rivers or ponds. The government should abolish the sugar cultivation in drought-prone regions like Marathwada if it wants to end recurring droughts in the state.”

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