A parched central Maharashtra will finally get some water from the upstream dams, though the sinking Parli Thermal Power Station in the region will have to wait.
A group of ministers on Wednesday decided to release 9,000 million cubic feet (TMC) water to Jaikwadi reservoirs near Aurangabad from Mula, Bhandardara, Nilwande and Darna dams in Nashik and Ahmednagar districts. The water will be released in phases till July 31, 2013 – the onset of next monsoon.
Water resources minister Sunil Tatkare clarified that Parli Thermal Power Station would not get any of this water. “We are trying to give Parli water from other sources,” he said.
This means the state power distribution company will continue to face a power deficit and will have to buy power from other sources. Parli station has already shut its 460 MW generation for want of water.
Officials in the energy department said the station would close all its units if it didn’t get water by next month.
Experts said the water would not reach Jaikwadi in full quantity because of evaporation and distance. “Last month, 2.5 TMC water was released from Bhandardara dam in Ahmednagar to Jaikwadi, but less than half of it reached the reservoir,” said a bureaucrat in the water resources department.
A minister, who attended the meeting, told HT that the negotiations turned out successful despite the issue being politically sensitive.
Farmer and politicians in north Maharashtra were opposed to the move. Congress ministers Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had threatened to quit over the issue. But hard convincing by the chief minister and senior NCP leaders saw a political consensus, said the minister.