With close to two months left for the monsoon to arrive, the usable water stock (live stock) in seven large dams in Marathwada region has already been exhausted, which has set off alarm bells in the state's corridors of power.
The average water storage from the 10 big projects in Marathwada has come down to a record low of 6%, as per figures released on Monday.
Of the 76 talukas in the eight districts of Marathwada, 39 talukas face drought. Of the 4,000 tankers that supply drinking water across the state, 1,807 are deployed in Marathwada.
The administration in Marathwada, which has sought Rs245 crore from the state government to deal with the drought situation, has now started utilising dead water stock of Jayakwadi dam. Dead water stock is not used as its usage can deplete the region's ground water levels.
Water from Jayakwadi is supplied to Aurangabad, Jalna, Ambad and Gevrai cities, which need 52.50 MLD water a month. The dead stock is likely to last for the next four months.
"The crisis does not end even if it rains sufficiently this year as filling the dam over its dead storage level is quite difficult. Drawing water from dead stock is dangerous and its consequences are long-lasting. It means that the water scarcity problem in the region will continue for the next couple of years," said JK Banthia, state chief secretary.
In a presentation made before the chief minister-led group of ministers, the Marathwada division administration said it needs Rs 245 crore for fodder and water supply between April and June. "We need Rs 170 crore for water supply, and the rest for cattle camps. The administration's funds have come down to zero," said an officer at the meeting, adding that the delay in release of funds has led several suppliers of fodder and water to refuse further supply. CM Prithviraj Chavan has assured officials that they will get the required funds.