Days, after dead fishes were found in the reservoir of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which provides water for drinking and irrigation purposes to almost the entire state, water supply to about 138 villages in Narmada district and parts of Chhota Udepur district, have been discontinued.
While a preliminary report of the sample of the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewage Board (GWSSB) has indicated presence of sulphide in the water, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has also sent a sample of the water for micro testing to Gandhinagar.
According to officials, the water supply to the villages was stopped from the Narmada canal after the water turned black and reports of mass death of fish came in. As a result, villagers are now receiving water from alternate local sources instead of the Narmada water that was supplied to the two filtration plants located in the area.
“We are using local sources of water like borewells and water tankers to supply water to the villages. So, there is no scarcity. This is a precautionary measure until the reports make it clear as to what caused the water to turn toxic and black,” a senior district administration official told The Indian Express.
The dead fishes were first sighted in the canal in Naswadi taluka of Chhota Udepur district in the last week of January. On January 30, fishes were reported dead even in the main reservoir of the dam, making it clear that the possible contamination was not restricted to a part of the canal.
While officials of the GWSSB conducted a primary test on the water samples and reported the presence of sulphide in the water, experts from the state Fisheries Department said that the presence of sulphide in the water could be result of the decaying dead fish.
Fisheries officials said that the death of the fishes, mainly of the carp variety, could be due to the sudden drop in the temperatures of the reservoir.
Meanwhile, the SSNNL has deployed patrol boats to survey the length of the Narmada basin in its jurisdiction to check for any illegal dumping of effluent or chemical into the basin.
“We have contacted the district in the upstream of the basin located in Madhya Pradesh to also ascertain if any pollution has taken place at source. It is a matter of concern, but the Narmada water can be supplied for drinking only after the filtration process by the GWSSB even in normal conditions,” Chief Engineer (SSNNL) PC Vyas told The Indian Express.