In what can be seen as bad news for the drought-hit Marathwada region, Officials of the Maharashtra government have announced that only 3 per cent water is left in dams in Marathwada.
Maharashtra state water board members say that eight of the 11 major dams in region are at dead storage level, meaning water from these dams cannot flow. Dams across the state have only 19 per cent water left compared to 32 per cent this time last year.
“We will also use the groundwater stock and as the IMD forecast is good, we hope that we will be able to carry on till the monsoon arrives,” said Aurangabad Divisional Commissioner Umakant Dangat.
Government has instructed the water board to halt water supply to industries and restrict it to drinking water.
“We have already cut water supply to industry. The collectors and divisional commissioner have been instructed that the use of water for drinking is the top priority, “said Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan.
The deadly drought which is vesting the Marathwada region for the fourth consecutive year is affecting livelihood in more than 8,000 villages. Agriculture and dairy industry in the region is in doldrums after ground water levels depleted to zero. Locals say that they are forced to migrate to urban localities in the state for daily living.
“There is no water for agriculture in my village, I am earning almost Rs 400 per day here, but the only problem is that we do not get job daily,” Said Latur based farmer Sanjay who left four acres of land and migrated to suburban Ghatkopar with his two brothers for work.
State officials consider it as a drastic decline in water storage compared to last year’s 11 per cent. They have deployed 2,745 water tankers to supply water in Latur and have announced a 20 per cent water cut to local breweries and a 10 per cent overall cut to local industry in Aurangabad.
Marathwada’s water crisis deepened in the first week of April when the region witnessed severe drought. Central and state government have started supplying water through railway wagons to give an interim relief.
Government appointed a fact finding committee concluded that accumulation of silt in reservoir supplying drinking water and absence of rainwater storing facilities in Marathwada are the main reasons for the water crisis in the region.