In what will come as relief to water-starved Maharashtra, the state government is planning to seek water from neighbouring Karnataka to meet the drinking water needs of the drought-affected areas in the state.
Irrigation department sources told DNA that the water sourced from Karnataka could be used to meet the drinking water needs of areas like Solapur and its neighbouring areas. Solapur is among the areas which have borne the brunt of the drought, with the district accounting for 109 of the 336 cattle camps in the state.
A senior state irrigation department official said they were seeking water from the Almatti Dam in Karnataka for the drought-affected areas.
Last year, the state had released 0.9 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) water for Karnataka from Warna Dam and 1 TMC from the Dudhganga Dam, both of which are located in Kolhapur district. “Now, we are seeking water from them. We have exchanged correspondence with the Karnataka government,” said a senior irrigation department official, adding that a high-level delegation from Maharashtra was also likely to visit the neighbouring state.
“We are yet to decide the quantum of water which we are seeking,” the official said, adding that this would depend on negotiations and on factors like the loss during transit, and whether Karnataka would keep the sluice gates of the barrages on the route open.
He pointed out that when the water was released over longer distances, a large part was lost or pilfered in transit. Last year, when the state released 2.5 TMC water into the Jaikwadi Dam from dams upstream in Nashik and Ahmednagar, only 1.11 TMC actually reached the reservoir located in Aurangabad. Later, the state again released 8.5 TMC, of which 5.41 TMC reached Jaikwadi due to better vigilance and control.
If it is released from Karnataka, the water will reach the Ous barrage, which is located on the Bhima River, from the Almatti Dam via the Narayanpur project and Indi Branch Canal, he added.