Madhya Pradesh stares at acute water shortage

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, IndiaUpdated: May 13, 2018, 01:24 PM IST

Representative image. Photograph:(Others)

Madhya Pradesh is staring at an acute water shortage as 65 dams, out of 164 important reservoirs in the state, have almost dried up.

Besides the 65 dams which have almost dried up, 39 tanks have 10 per cent or less water stock of their capacity, a top official the Madhya Pradesh Water Resources Department (MPWRD) said. The Indira Sagar Dam, built over the Narmada river in MP’s Khandwa district, has around 2,104 million cubic metres (MCM) of water as against a total capacity of 9,750 MCM, Adil Khan, Public Relations Officer, the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), told PTI.

“We are maintaining 2,104 MCM level in the Indira Sagar Dam,” he said. MPWRD Engineer-in-Chief Rajeev Kumar Sukalikar said some of the dams have almost run out of water due to last year’s scanty rainfall. “Eleven Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), out of the total 378 in the state, were getting water every four days,” said Prabhakant Katare, Engineer-in-Chief (ENC) with the MP Urban Administration Development Commissioners office. He said 50 ULBs were getting water on third, while 117 on alternate days.

Katare said right now the situation in the urban areas, which mainly depend on rivers and reservoirs for their water needs, was manageable. There are also reports of water shortage in rural MP. According to the reports, more than 30 per cent of the hand pumps and tube wells are not functioning due to mechanical glitch or a steep dip in underground water level, a claim denied by the Public Health Engineer (PHE) department.

PHE Department Engineering-in-Chief K K Songaria said 5.5 lakh hand pumps and 15,000 tube wells were catering to the needs of people in rural parts of the state. Songaria said around 4 per cent hand pumps and tube wells were out of order and denied claims that around 30 per cent of them were non-functional. “PHE Principal Secretary Pramod Agrawal and me are touring the state to ensure rural MP gets water,” he said.

Madhya Pradesh PHE Minister Kusum Mehdele also denied reports that 30 per cent of the hand pumps and tube wells were out of order in rural parts of the state. “More than 80 per cent of the hand pumps and tube wells were in perfect order,” she added. NVDA PRO Khan said prudent use of water of the Narmada river considered MP’s lifeline – has kept a water crisis at bay so far in the state.

“For the last couple of days, we are releasing 7 MCM of water daily from the Bargi Dam built on the Narmada,” he said adding the dam has adequate water. “We are supplying the Narmada water down to Barwani district bordering Gujarat,” Khan added. Another NVDA official said the state government’s decision not to supply 500 MCM of water to Gujarat has helped them avert a water crisis in Madhya Pradesh so far.

He said, “According to the Narmada Control Authoritys (NCA) decision, we were to supply 5,500 MCM of water to Gujarat in this water year (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018).” Of this, 5,000 MCM of water was supplied by January and the rest could not be supplied “as we did not have enough water for our state”, he added. Veteran water conservationist K G Vyas said it is high time the MP government revived the Narmada to overcome the water shortage.

“If the government really wants to revitalise the Narmada, it must work for the revival of its 41 tributaries,” said the septuagenarian activist. The Narmada river traverses a total distance of 1,312 km before flowing into the Arabian Sea in Gujarat. It covers 1,077 km in MP and the rest in Gujarat.