Crisis in State as Dam Water Levels Down to 37.52%

MUMBAI: With the mercury moving northward day by day and most parts of Maharashtra facing a severe water crisis, the water levels in reservoirs and dams have dropped to 37.52%. With 66% of the revenue circles in the state facing a drought, the administration has deployed 1,417 tankers in hundreds of villages and hamlets as against 61 tankers on the same day last year.

Owing to deficient rainfall and water shortage, the state government on October 31 last year had declared a drought in 40 of the state’s 356 tehsils. This included 287 revenue circles that received rainfall below the 75% threshold. Later, the government added 1,532 of 2,292 revenue circles as drought-hit owing to the severe water shortage in rural areas.

Shahapur tehsil, which provides water to Mumbai through dams such as Bhatsa, Vaitarna and Tansa, is facing an acute water crisis, with villages getting water only once in two to three days. Around 25 villages and 118 hamlets in Shahapur are now getting water through 23 tankers but many villages are still parched.

The water crunch in villages from Thane and Palghar district has resulted in the pro-tribal outfit ‘Shramjeevi Sanghatana’ organising a march with villagers to 39 gram panchayats. “As per a government decision in 2020, all the villages in the vicinity of dams were to get tap water, and schemes were designed for this,” said Prakash Khoda, the Shahapur tehsil chief of Shramjeevi Sanghatana. “But because of the corrupt administration and contractors, crores of rupees were not utilised properly. We will carry out protest marches till April 10.”

Maharashtra has around 2,994 small, medium and major dams across the state with a total live storage capacity of 40,485 MCM (million cubic metres). According to the daily water availability report released by the water resources department, as of April 1, live storage has reduced to 15,189.42 MCM, which is 37.52% of capacity. Last year, during this period, the water availability was 45.52%.

Water availability in Marathwada region, which includes Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar, Jalana, Beed, Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded, Latur and Dharashiv, is the lowest at 19.36% compared to 45.44% this time last year. Even the rain-blessed Konkan, which has the highest water availability, has only 50.50% water.

Due to the water crisis, 1,153 villages and 2,581 hamlets have been getting water through 1,417 tankers as per the weekly report of water supply department. Marathwada region has the highest number of tankers at 720. In water-starved North Maharashtra, there are 345 tankers supplying potable water, 207 of these to Nashik district, which is the worst hit.


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