The Maharashtra government has decided to channelise surplus water from western flowing rivers to the Godavari basin to tackle the drought in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.
The project is part of the interlinking of six major river basins under the Integrated State Water Plan.
The Rs 15,000-crore project has been approved by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who heads the Maharashtra State Water Council. The state water resources department has been directed to prepare a draft proposal for the execution of the project.
The plan entails interlinking the river basins using advanced technology to facilitate transfer and equitable distribution of water to overcome the challenges of water scarcity in drought-prone Marathwada, Vidarbha, parts of North Maharashtra and Western Maharashtra. “In the last five years, we have faced recurring drought for four consecutive years. Climate change makes it necessary to look beyond traditional methods of water conservation to tackle the drought,” Fadnavis said.
“There is 300 TMC surplus water from the western flowing rivers, which goes into the Arabian Sea. Our plan is to tap 167 TMC water from Ulhas river, which would be channelised to the Godavari basin. The water which flows down south has remained un-utilised for decades and goes into the sea. It would help in addressing the problems in drought-prone Marathwada. Almost 100 TMC water from Wainganga would be channelised to tackle the drought in Vidarbha,” Fadnavis said.
While terming the project economically and technologically feasible, the chief minister maintained, “There will be several tunnels built to lift the water. There is no question of tampering with the natural river course. Therefore, ecological or environmental hazards are ruled out.”
The interlinking of river basins will be carried out through five projects which have been approved by the cabinet.