The first rains in the state’s hinterland appear to be encouraging, with water conservation projects undertaken by people under Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan filling up. Reports following the first rains across Vidarbha, Marathwada, north and western Maharashtra indicate that projects that have been completed are retaining rainwater, much to the relief of villagers.
At Gangapur in Aurangabad, river Martandi that stretches 17 km came to life after the first rains. People worked for 110 days to revive the river and Rs 35 lakh was spent on it. The project to revive rivers, wells, cement bunds, ponds and rivulets is showing results.
According to water management expert Madhav Chitale, “Water conservation programmes undertaken by the government are heading in the right direction. However, we will have to wait till the end of monsoon to ascertain the final results. How much water holding capacity has been enhanced and at what cost will need to be worked out. But the stress on revival of existing structures and creating smaller projects instead of big dams is the right way to tackle drought.”
In Nashik circle, which includes Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon and Nandurbar, 12,719 of the total 19,779 projects initially taken up have been completed.