Maharashtra witnesses worst water crisis in a decade due to delayed monsoon

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 16 Juli 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Delayed monsoon in the state has led to the worst water crisis in the last one-and-a-half decades.

Till mid-July, which is the peak of monsoon, 2,511-and-odd reservoirs across the state have attributed to only up to 18% of the total stock, while the figure was 40% the same day last year. Neighbouring Pune region appears to be the worst affected, with a stock of 13% against 41% last year.

A senior bureaucrat told TOI on Tuesday that with monsoon playing truant in the catchment areas, the state seemed to be staring at the worst-ever water shortage. "Urban areas have been receiving adequate showers, but there has been absolutely no rain in the catchment areas of lakes and dams. If those areas continue to not getting rain, we will have to draft a new action plan for transportation of water," he said.

Only 36% of 158 dams in Konkan are full till now, while in Nagpur region, which had 59% stock last year, the current figure is 35%. In Amravati, the tanks are full up to 28%, while in Nashik, it is merely 19%. Marathwada seems to be the only region which has seen a slight rise in water stock than last year: from 9% to 15%.

Owing to the acute drinking water shortage in rural areas, district collectors have been asked to deploy tankers and bullock carts to bring water and the officials have also been granted more financial powers to tackle the shortage. "Now we are banking on the observations of the meteorological department, which has forecast that monsoon will activate in the state in a few days," he said. While more than a dozen municipal corporations have already imposed a water cut of 20% to 40%, the irrigation department has given instructions to the dam authorities to release water for drinking purpose. "The chief secretary is monitoring the situation on a daily basis," the bureaucrat said.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan personally reviewed the drought-like situation a week ago. "Chavan had a video-conference with all the district collectors and chief executive officers of the zilla parishads about the water shortage. While adequate funds have been granted to collectors, the state expects financial assistance from the Centre," the bureaucrat said.


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