Updated: April 8, 2021 1:16:23 pm
With the large reservoirs in Saurashtra filled around 42 per cent of their capacity to meet the requirement of irrigation water, the state irrigation department has filled more than 400 check-dams, 67 village ponds and 10 dams by pumping 2,761 million cubic feet (mcft) of Narmada waters through Saurashtra Naramada Avataran Irrigation Yojana (SAUNI) pipeline network to meet the drinking water needs in villages and cities in the region.
Officers of Rajkot and Bhavnagar irrigation circles said that they started operating four pipeline link canals of SAUNI towards the end of the February and by April 7, had pumped total 2,761 mcft water.
They said that dams like Aji-I, Machhu-I, Nyari-I, Veri, Machhu-III, Khodapipar, Nayka etc have been filled with Narmada water to meet drinking water needs of cities like Rajkot and Jamnagar and towns like Gondal and Dhrol. Similarly, water has been pumped to Kaniyad and Krushnasagar dams to meet drinking water needs of Botad town. Water has been pumped to dams like Ankadiya, Goma, Chibhda etc also. Ponds like Devdhari, Shanala, Vanala, Tarnetar, Tikar, Dudhai, Sarva, Sarsana have also been filled to augment availability of drinking water in villages.
“Municipal corporations of Rajkot and Jamnagar directly approached the state government requesting Narmada water be pumped into dams supplying drinking water to these cities and the government, in turn, ordered us to pump the water through our SAUNI pipeline network. While pumping water to major dams that supply drinking water to these big cities, we also pumped water into village ponds and check-dams en route to ensure that drinking water remains available in villages also,” RM Makwana, Superintending Engineer of Rajkot Irrigation (projects) circle told The Indian Express.
The highest amount of water-1450 mcft—has been pumped through Link-III pipeline which originates from Dholidhaja dam, the tail-end Saurashtra branch canal of Narmada project in Surendranagar, and links dams like Machhu-I, Aji-I, Nyari-I, Bhadar-I etc. Through this pipeline link, the irrigation department has pumped 650 mcft water into Aji-I dam, making it almost brimful at the onset of the summer. The department is to pump total 150 mcft into Nyari-I. These two dams are the major local sources of drinking water for Rajkot. Through this pipeline, the irrigation department has filled up six dams, 15 village ponds and 148 check-dams in Surendranagar, Morbi and Rajkot districts.
Aji-III dam, on the other hand, has become part of the drinking wate supply network of Jamnagar city and is fed by SAUNI Link-I which offtakes from Machhu-II dam, the tail end of Morbi branch canal of Narmada project.
The Bhavnagar irrigation circle has pumped around 600 mcft water through Link-II to fill up a few dams, around 90 check-dams and ponds in Botad and Bhavnagar districts. “A few days ago, we successfully tested the section of the Link-IV pipeline which connects Bortalav, the source of drinking water for Bhavnagar city, to SAUNI network. As major dams which supply irrigation water have enough storage, we are focusing on smaller water bodies which are important for drinking water purpose in villages” Ashok Gadher, a deputy engineer in-charge of Link-II said.
Pankaj Sonpal, an executive engineer in Rajkot irrigation circle who is in-charge of Link-I, III and IV said that additional 640 mcft water will be pumped through Link-IV and 150 mcft through Link-III. That will take the total amount of water pumped to Saurashtra to this season to 5351 mcft.
Meanwhile, data with the Narmada, Water Resources, Water Supply and Kalpasar department of the state government showed 114 major dams of Saurashtra had cumulative gross storage of 37,856 mcft as of Wednesday.
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