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Marathwada dams have only 8% water left

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Mohammed Akhef, TNN | Mar 31, 2013, 03.02 AM IST

AURANGABAD: The drought situation in Marathwada is turning from bad to worse with the levels in the dams dipping to an average 8% within a week, which is bound to result in further water cuts in the areas and bigger exodus of drought-hit people to cities like Pune, Mumbai and the ones in neighbouring Gujarat and Karnataka in search of jobs.

The live storage in as many as six dams in Hingoli, Beed, Osmanabad and Parbhani has gone down to zero level. According to officials, water is being drawn from trenches, dug wells and wells and tubewells acquired by the local administration and supplied to residents through tankers.

Evaporation due to rising summer heat is one of the reasons for the grim situation, an irrigation official who is posted at the Jayakwadi dam here told TOI on Friday. "We'll have to make judicious use of water available in the dam as Jalna also needs to be supplied from here. As per the latest report, the groundwater levels in the district has dipped to 13 metres now as compared to around 12 metres in January.

The municipal authorities will have to be proactive to plug the leakages in the pipelines quickly whenever they are found anywhere in the district, the official added.

A senior official from the Aurangabad divisional commissionerate said, "We have our calculation about the dipping of water levels through various means but the temperature is soaring high and there is an instant rise in the evaporation rate in the water bodies having huge surface areas. And due to this fast evaporation rate, there are chances that the water supply may further be reduced."

As per the latest figures issued by the state administration, Marathwada region, which has 11 major irrigation projects in eight districts, in all have just 8% of water remaining. The percentage of water available in the bodies across the region is fast depleting and the 11 projects that had more than 9% water last week has dipped by 1%, a release issued by the administration said. Marathwada region has 822 water projects, including 11 major, 75 medium and 717 small.

According to the statement, out of the 11 major dams, Sidheshwar, Majalgaon, Manjra, lower Terna and lower Dudhna have already run out of stock. Even the major dams like the Jayakwadi and Yeldari have only about 1% of their livestock, which is set to get over within the next few days.

Pune division, which has 27 major irrigation projects, has 33% of water; Nashik, with 18 major projects, has 21%; Amravati, with nine projects, has 30%, Nagpur, with 16 major projects, has 42%; and Konkan division, having just three major irrigation projects, has around 70% of water of their storage capacity.

The 75 medium irrigation projects in Marathwada region had around 20% of water of their storage capacity last week. Jalna district, which has seven projects, and Osmanabad district, which has 17 medium projects, have already gone dry. In Aurangabad, 16 medium projects are now left with less than 1% of water.