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Reservoirs still have only 27% water

The spillway gates of any reservoir will not be opened till they had achieved 80 per cent of their capacity,state water resources minister Ajit Pawar said here on Thursday.

Written by Express News Service | Pune |
July 17, 2009 3:22:59 am

The spillway gates of any reservoir will not be opened till they had achieved 80 per cent of their capacity,state water resources minister Ajit Pawar said here on Thursday. Till afternoon,the reservoir levels had recorded only 7.55 TMC — only around 27 per cent of their capacity.

Pawar was speaking on the sidelines of the 37th foundation day ceremony of the Ground Water Survey and Development Agency (GSDA). “We have not released any water through the gates and we will not do so till the storage capacity reaches 80 per cent,” he said.

The spillway gates are used to regulate floods. Flooding in parts of the city had been caused because of heavy rainfall in the downstream areas,not because of dam waters,he said. At present,Pune is facing a 40 per cent water cut while it is 20 per cent cut in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “Last year at this time,the city had 78 per cent water stored in the dams,now it’s only around 25 per cent,” Pawar said. “We will review the cut only after the dams achieve 80 per cent of their 27 TMC storage capacity. At present,it is less than 8 TMC.”

The Irrigation Department has to make water available for agriculture and supply Pune with drinking water for an entire year,he said. The city needs to look at long-term solutions for water management,such as recycling of used water,borewell management and rainwater harvesting.

Till 5 pm on Thursday,Khadakwasla dam was at 2.8 TMC,Varasgaon at 2.23 TMC,Panshet at 1.8 TMC and Temghar at 0.68 TMC. The rainfall in the catchment areas had reduced considerably and it was between 7 mm to 38 mm in all dams on Thursday.

By Thursday evening however,the Khadakwasla dam was releasing water at the rate of 1000 cusecs. “On Wednesday,we were releasing water at the rate of 200-300 cusecs. This was increased to 1,000 cusecs on Thursday evening,” said Shivaji Bolbhat,executive engineer,Khadakwasla irrigation division.

“Yesterday,because of the release,the canal would have had about 0.02 TMC. If we continue releasing water at the rate of 1000 cusecs then the canal would have 0.08 TMC water available,which the PMC can make use of.”

In a day,Pune city requires around 0.05 TMC water. The Irrigation Department has also clarified that the water release in canal was done to maintain the level of dam,which will be stopped as the rainfall reduces.

However,activists said the PMC has decided to get four more tankers on requisition in addition to the already-sought 12 tankers. “The lifting of water by the PMC from canal should have led to an improvement in service,but it has not happened,” he said. “Is it mismanagement or does the PMC want to make water available for private tankers?”

However,the PMC said the water release from Khadakwasla was a temporary reprieve. “The additional water made available is for a temporary period and any decision on lifting the water cut will be taken up at a joint meeting with the Irrigation Department,” said K C Karkar,PMC coordination officer for water supply.

Rain respite

After two days of heavy rains,Pune recorded a meagre 4 mm rainfall on Thursday. The Indian Metereological Department said a low pressure had formed over Chhattisgarh. “If it moves in the southwesterly direction then Pune can expect rainfall,otherwise the rainfall will move in the northern direction,” an IMD officer said.

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