Preparing for a tough summer owing to limited availability of Narmada water, Gujarat government has sanctioned emergency works worth Rs 206 crore in the state to augment connectivity of various drinking water supply schemes with local dams especially in Saurashtra and Kutch. Most of these schemes are drawing water from Narmada canals, however, now the state government is also planning to connect them to local dams as well.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has assessed the development of these works at a high level meeting held here Saturday which was also attended by Chief Principal Secretary to the CM K Kailashnathan, Chief Secretary J N Singh and other senior officers related to water.
These emergency works include works of Rs 22.40 crore for Ahmedabad district, Rs 44.50 crore for Devbhumi Dwarka district, Rs 41.32 crore for Kutch, Rs 20.66 crore for Morbi, Rs 26.20 crore for Bhavnagar, Rs 17.80 crore for Surendranagar, Rs 14.20 crore for Junagadh, Rs 9.50 crore for Rajkot and Rs 7.34 crore for Patan and Banaskantha districts.
This year due to less water in the catchment area of Narmada valley, water storage of the dam has gone down below 50 per cent of its capacity. And therefore, Gujarat government has decided not to provide Narmada water for irrigation after March 15. At the same time, it has also decided to provide Narmada water only for drinking purpose till July 31. And for this, Narmada water will not be released in any other canals then the Main Canal and Saurashtra Branch Canal.
Currently, 8,639 villages and 165 urban areas are getting Narmada water for drinking. These areas will not get Narmada water as it will not be flown into any other canal than Main Canal and Saurashtra Branch canal. And therefore, the state government has sanctioned emergency works of over Rs 200 crore to connect water supply schemes of the Water Supply Department with the local dams.
A senior state government officer said, “The decision not to flow Narmada water in most canals was taken to pre-empt water lifting by farmers. Now, most water supply schemes use Narmada water. So, it is necessary to connect these schemes with local sources of water like local dams which are fortunately full this year. So, water of these local dams will be used as an alternate of Narmada water.”
Water in various dams like Sani, Vartu-2, Ghee, Ozat-2, Brahmni-1, Brahmni-2 and Fodala in Saurashtra and Fatehgadh, Godhtad, Mithhi, Savai in Kutch has been reserved for drinking purpose. In the meeting, CM Rupani has also given instructions to provide water to salt pan workers through tankers in various areas of Surendranagar and coastal parts of the state.
The meeting also discussed that in districts of South and Central Gujarat like Valsad, Dangs, Navsari, Tapi, Surat, Narmada, Chhota Udepur, Dahod, Mahisagar, Panchmahals, Vadodara, Kheda and Anand have enough sources of drinking water available. However, where ever there is problem of drinking water in these districts, the CM has given instructions to provide it through tankers. At the same time, instructions have also been given to repair hand pumps in tribal areas.