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Water crisis: Thanks to Madhya Pradesh, Narmada dam level stays steady

The dam, which was at 105.5 metres on March 15, when the SSNNL stopped the supply for irrigation, rose to 105.75 metres on March 22 due to a significant inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh for four days between March 18 and 22.

Written by Aditi Raja | Vadodara |
April 4, 2018 4:31:12 am
Water crisis: Thanks to Madhya Pradesh, Narmada dam level stays steady The current water level in the dam level (Tuesday, April 3) was 105.36 metres or 3,083 million cubic metres. (Express Photo By Bhupendra Rana)

Nearly two weeks after the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) ceased supply of irrigation water from the Narmada Dam to preserve the dead storage for drinking water supply, intermittent inflow of water from the reservoirs in Madhya Pradesh has ensured that the level in the Narmada Dam is steady.

The dam, which was at 105.5 metres on March 15, when the SSNNL stopped the supply for irrigation, rose to 105.75 metres on March 22 due to a significant inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh for four days between March 18 and 22.

The current water level in the dam level (Tuesday, April 3) was 105.36 metres or 3,083 million cubic metres.
Since March 18, this year, the Narmada Dam has received a total of 58,240 cusecs of water from Madhya Pradesh, mainly due to the release of water from the generation of power in the Indira Sagar reservoir and the Omkareshwar reservoir in the neighbouring state.

Of this, Madhya Pradesh released 27,807 cusecs of water for over four days between March 18 and 22. According to SSNNL officials, the average water received from the neighbouring state is about 1,800 cusecs per day.

A technical projection by the Narmada Control Authority, which decides the distribution of the Narmada water between the states, estimates that the level in Narmada Dam will rise to 108.82 metres by mid-April. SSNNL officials, however, dismiss the projection as a mere ‘math calculation’.

“These projections are made based on the math calculations of the water released from Madhya Pradesh when their reservoirs generate power. It is unlikely that the level will rise by such a huge amount within a matter of two weeks. These projections are only technical data. Even with a steady inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh, the rise in the water level will not be more than a few centimetres,” said a senior SSNNL official.

While the intermittent inflow has helped the level of the Narmada Dam remain steady, officials say that in the event that MP does not release any more water until June, the reservoir would further reduce by about 2.5 metres without any shortfall in supply of drinking water.

A senior official said, “The inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh totally depends on their need to generate hydropower or the requirement of water in their downstream. If they feel that they need power or water in the downstream, they will release water that will flow into the Narmada dam basin. However, even if MP releases no water from hereon, Gujarat will not face shortage of drinking water supply.”

SSNNL officials calculate the reduction in the dam level at 3 cm per day, with a daily outflow of an average 3,500 cusecs, which has reduced since the irrigation supply was stopped.

An official said, “We have calculated that the reservoir is depleting by 3 cm per day. So, even if Madhya Pradesh releases no more water, the maximum reduction in the level of the dam will be about 2.5 metres, which from today will be about 103 metres until June. Therefore, there will be no shortage of water as already assured by the Deputy Chief Minister (Nitin Patel) in the Assembly. However, with the steady flow of water from Madhya Pradesh, the level of the Narmada Dam should remain between 104 metres to 110 metres until June.”

Meanwhile, SSNNL surveillance teams have been keeping a watch along the main and branch canals to ensure that there is no pilferage of water by farmers.

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