With just 19.63 per cent water stock left in 3,267 dams across Maharashtra, industries may soon face partial cuts in supply, sources in the department of water resources said. Last year, water stock in the dams was recorded at 32.60 per cent around the same time.
Of the total 40,897.95 million cubic metres storage capacity, dams in the state currently have 8,029.59 million cubic metres of live storage.
According to sources in the department of water resources, while a blanket ban on water to industries was unlikely, the sector may face partial cuts soon. “The degree of supply cut to industries will be determined by circumstances and also the nature of the industry. An average water cut of up to 40 per cent cannot be ruled out,” an official, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express. In areas where live water storage in dams is below five per cent, supply to industries could be “temporarily suspended” in May, the official added.
In drought mitigation, variety of challenges for state govt
Continued spells of drought coupled with falling water levels in dams could entail short-term and long-term challenges for the Maharashtra government. The immediate concern relates to meeting the demand for drinking water in 24,000 villages. Another concern is ensuring adequate supply of fodder for cattle for two months, provided there is a good monsoon in June. Otherwise, the administration may need to take drastic steps for four months, including providing employment in drought-affected areas under MNREGA. The expenditure towards drought mitigation would require more fund mobilisation.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, sources said, has already issued standing orders to all district collectors to ensure that highest priority is accorded to making drinking water and fodder available. The government, they said, has also issued guidelines mandating that dam and reservoir water be first supplied for drinking purposes, followed by agriculture and finally for industries.
Earlier, the state government declared drought in 151 talukas of Maharashtra’s 355 talukas and initiated various relief operations, including water management under which district collectors have been asked to deploy tankers to water-deficit talukas.
According to information, obtained from the water resources department, Aurangabad division in Marathwada has being worst hit. The division has only 5.27 per cent water available in its 964 dams. In 2018, despite drought, water level in the dams here was 30.46 per cent.
In Marathwada, live water stock has touched zero in maximum number of dams, including Paithan, Manjara, Majalgaon, Yeldhari, Siddheshwar, Lower Terna, Sina Kolegaon and Lower Dudhna.
Across the state, so far 19 dams have zero water stock, including Khadakpurna and Pentakli (Buldhana); Gosikhurd (Bhandara); Dina (Gadchiroli); Bham and Punegaon (Nashik); Pimpalgaon, Ghod and Temghar (Pune); Bhima (Solapur); Kundali Tata and Lonavala Tata.
The second worst-affected region is in Nagpur division (Eastern Vidarbha region) where water level in 384 dams have declined to 502.02 million cubic metres out of the total 4,607.01 million cubic metres. The available water in dams here is 10.9 per cent, lower than last summer’s 17.18 per cent.
The Amravati division (western Vidarbha), with 446 dams, currently has 1,009.94 million cubic metres live water stock out of a total 4,193.26 million cubic metres storage capacity. At 24.08 per cent, this is marginally better that last year’s 21.12 per cent recorded around this time.
In the 176 dams along the coastal Konkan region, which does not face a drought-like situation, water level in dams are at 40.7 per cent, down from last year’s 49.5 per cent.
The situation in Nashik division is no better, with water level in 571 dams here having 18.36 per cent water stock compared to last year’s 34.26 per cent. In Pune division, 726 dams have a live water storage of 23.66 per cent, compared to last year’s 36.92 per cent.