Five months after taps ran dry at Latur city because of severe drought drying up all water sources and supply schemes in the district, a decent monsoon has brought in some good news.
The city is set to get water supply from taps this week, with two barrages on the Manjara river that supply water to the city —Nazgira and Sai — getting filled up.
Latur’s citizens, forced to rely completely on water from tankers for the first time in history, will now get water from their taps once in 15 days.
An education hub in the Marathwada district, the city found itself on the global map this year after the drought worsened, shrinking even drinking water supply. This summer, Latur city survived on just 35 lakh litres to 50 lakh litres a day of public water supply, about a tenth of its requirement.
To make up for the shortage, water was being supplied to Latur through water trains that tapped into the neighbouring Ujani dam in Solapur district.
“The main water source for the city, the Manjara dam, is still dry. But two of its barrages on which we have a water supply scheme have been filled. This will fetch us 20 million litres a day (MLD) of water for the next 4-5 months. We plan to start water supply through taps in the coming week,” said Sudhakar Telang, the city civic commissioner.
He added the scenario has changed in just the past 48 hours.
Overall, the monsoon season has so far been good for the state. Marathawada, oppressed by the drought, got 24% of surplus rain, while Vidarbha, also hit by agrarian crisis, got 38% additional rain.
Despite this, the overall water storage in all of Marathwada’s dams is still low at 9%, with six big dams, including one of Asia’s biggest, Jayakwadi, having no live storage (when the water is above the dam sluice gates and can be released through canals). In high summer, the live water storage had come down to nil in this central Maharashtra region.
Across the state, water storage in dams has gone up to 42%, with Konkan’s water storage structures 80% full, followed by 54% at Nagpur and 57% in Amravati (both in Vidarbha).
Only eight districts in Maharashtra have received less than average rainfall, and public tankers supplying water to the state have been reduced by more than half.