The state government has proposed an action plan to ensure appropriate use of water resources in months ahead.
Monsoon this year may have brought bountiful rain for Maharashtra, but owing to climate change and other water usage, there is an increasing variability noticed in the rainfall and resulting water availability in the state in the last few years.
Keeping in view this fluctuating water availability, the state’s Department of Water Supply and Sanitation has proposed an action plan that aims to introduce schemes to address water scarcity in areas that are perennially parched along with monitoring the groundwater usage in these localities.
This year, rainfall recorded in the state stood at 983.6 mm, which was 18 per cent above normal. Except Beed, Latur, Solapur, Yavatmal and Wahim, all other districts have reported normal to above normal rain during the monsoon season gone by.
“The rainfall variability is increasing, and its direct effect is visible on the groundwater recharge. While the surface water available in the form if water bodies or reservoirs can be recharged following a good rain for a few days, it is not the same with groundwater,” said an official from the Groundwater Development and Development Agency (GSDA).
In its pre-monsoon assessment, GSDA had placed 1,844 villages from 182 talukas in the state as severely water stressed.
According to the proposed action plan, firstly, no new source of drinking water is to be dug within 500 metres of a drinking water source in areas that fall under water sparse category. Secondly, areas that are declared drought-hit will be monitored and curbs will be imposed on drawing water (from any depth of a well) for up to a radius of one kilometre.
Even as reservoirs in the state continue to get decent water stocks, the department has advised the GSDA to sensitise people on the appropriate use of water in both rural and urban areas in the upcoming months.
GSDA is measuring the groundwater levels in over 30,000 wells in the state as part of its post-monsoon water table assessment. “Depending on the findings, we will focus our efforts on talukas in every district that has recorded rainfall less than its seasonal average during June-September period,” the official said.