The level in dams that supply water to people in the state has dipped considerably due to the subdued monsoon setting off alarm bells. Water in many of the majors dams have touched rock bottom.
According to govt data, in state dams only 18% water remains as against 32% in the same period last year. Koyana dam in Satara, a major drinking water source and main contributor to electricity generation, has reached its lowest level: it now has only 8% water as against 60% in 2013.
The case of other dams too aren't different: Bhatsa (Thane) has only 27% water stock (54% in 2013); Viatarna (Nasik): 22% (47% last year); Modak Sagar (Mumbai): 44% (62% in 2013), and Tansa (Mumbai): 8% (68% last year). Water in dams including Mulsi (Pune), Waghad (Nasik), Ghod (Pune) and Majalgaon has touched rock bottom.
According to data with the state administration, in the dams in the Konkan region, there is only an 18% stock of water; in Marathawada the stock is 15%; in Nagpur 37%; in Amarawati region 29%; in Nashik 13% and in Pune region 12%. And the average stock in the state is 18%.
The state has not received satisfactory rain in the last one and-a-half month. "Last year, there was very good rainfall, and hence water stock was satisfactory. But the situation is quite grim now as with each passing day, the water level in dams has been dipping fast.
In Mumbai and its suburbs, there is rain now, but the rest of the state is still dry. If it does not rain, the situation will worsen, setting off severe water shortage leading to drought-like situation," said a senior govt official.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has already instructed all district collectors not to use the dam water other than for drinking purpose. "Water should be used purely for drinking purpose. Whenever there is severe crisis, water will be supplied through tankers. Besides, we have decided to provide all financial assistance to districts administrations to tackle water shortage," said Chavan.
The subdued rainfall will have a cascading effect on production of various crops. The pulses sowing season has had a bad start. So, prices of pulses will shoot up, as also prices of vegetables and food grains. "We are hoping the rains will begin soon and bridge whatever deficiency is there in the next two months," said a senior govt official.