Of Water levels in Maharashtra's dams....

The water crisis in the drought-struck region of Marathwada is worsening long before the summer sets in.Water levels in the region's dams are already down to 6% of capacity . Six of the region's 11 major dams are at dead storage level. The biggest dam in the region, Jayakwadi, has only 2% water left.
Last year at this time, water levels in Marathwada's dams were much higher, at 18%.“There is extreme scarcity of water in Marathwada. In the worst-affected areas of Beed, Latur and Osmanabad, the water level in dams is 1% or less,“ said Aurangabad divisional commissioner Umakant Dangat. However, he said that surface water was still available.
Water resources minister Girish Mahajan said water supply to industries outside the main industrial hub of Aurangabad could be hit in the coming months. “Drinking water is the first priority . Currently, the Jayakwadi dam has enough water for the Aurangabad industrial area but smaller industries in other districts could be affected,“ he said.
While Marathwada has faced two successive drought years, rainfall across the state has been deficient since 2014.The result: Dam water levels have dipped dramatically . Dams across Maharashtra have only 27% of their water left, compared to 43% at this time in 2015. Water levels in the state's major dams are at a five-year low for this time of the year.
While Marathwada has seen the sharpest decline, water levels in dams in north and western Maharashtra have halved compared to last year.Water levels in western Maharashtra's dams have dropped to 31% from 56% at this time last year. In north Maharashtra, dam water levels have fallen to 26% from 47% last year.
In Amravati division, which sees the highest farmer suicides in the state, dam water levels have dropped to 26% from 37% last year.
Critics question how the government can plan major industrial expansion in this arid belt. Marathwada is a key hub for the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor. Several projects for the region were also inked during the `Make in India Week'.“In fact the time has come to even stop construction activities in Marathwada to ensure there is enough drinking water,“ said water expert Pradeep Purandare.
He also said that the state government's flagship water conservation scheme Jalyukta Shivar Yojana is laying emphasis on the wrong things. “The focus of the scheme is not watershed development but the widening and deepening of rivers. In the long run, this will be an ecological disaster,“ said Purandare.

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