A drought-like situation looms large on the horizon for Maharashtra as the available water storage in the state is declining day by day. The state is now left only with 18% of its water storage, which will last for only a short period.
In the next few days, if there are no positive signs of the monsoon, Maharashtra might face a crisis situation – even one as bad as 2009 may arise – as the state has so far received an average rainfall of only 16% this monsoon.
The regions of Marathwada and Vidharbha, along with Western Maharashtra, have been severely hit by the water crisis. Crops already sown have fallen in the danger zone, which has created a perilous situation for poor farmers, who are already bankrupt. Due to insufficient water supply, farm lands are drying up, with some even becoming barren, where one can only see cracks instead of crops. The area under cultivation for kharif crops has drastically declined.
In the last decade, Maharashtra has seen four major droughts – in 2002, 2004, 2009 and 2012 – with the 2012 drought being the worst in the past 40 years, after the one from 1971-73.
Maharashtra has a more than 1,800 dams, but due to insufficient rainfall in the past two years, the water levels in these dams have plunged. Currently, the available water storage in the Nashik region is only 10%, Nagpur region – 44%, Amravati region – 34%, Konkan region – 33%, and Pune region has only 11% water left.
Till date, less than 8% of the normal sowing has taken place in Maharashtra. While the state may also see shortage of the two pulses moong (green gram) and urad (black gram), which cover a normal area of 5.28 lakh hectares and 4.43 lakh hectares respectively each year.
A few days ago, it was reported that the water storage in Maharashtra's dams had fallen to 19% as the state awaited the elusive monsoon.
Water Available in Dams (Million Litres)
Modak Sagar - 58,007
Tansa - 12,086
Vihar - 326
Tulshi - 2,704
Bhatsa - 33,710