Govt setting up committee for judicious release of water from dams, says top official

Updated on Aug 12, 2019 09:28 PM IST

Mhaisekar’s comments are significant in view of adverse comments from water experts that it was the unregulated release of water from dams such as the Koyna, Warna and Radhanagari which led to the floods in Sangli and Kolhapur districts.

The SANDRP report said that the high rainfall was distributed over eight days and was preceded by warning of high rainfall.(PTI file photo)
The SANDRP report said that the high rainfall was distributed over eight days and was preceded by warning of high rainfall.(PTI file photo)
Hindustan Times, Pune | ByParth Welankar and Abhay Khairnar

Pune divisional commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar has said that in view of the devastating floods in Sangli and Kolhapur districts after release of water from dams in the Krishna river basin, steps are being taken to regularly monitor the release of water from the dams.

“A committee, which will include chief engineer of the state irrigation department and other officials, is being constituted to regularly monitor the release of water from the dams,” he said.

He acknowledged that such a mechanism was not in place, but would be followed henceforth.

Mhaisekar’s comments are significant in view of adverse comments from water experts that it was the unregulated release of water from dams such as the Koyna, Warna and Radhanagari which led to the floods in Sangli and Kolhapur districts.

Water expert Himanshu Thakkar, co-ordinator South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers, and People (SANDRP) along with his associate, Parineeta Dandekar, have released a detailed analytical report stating that mismanagement in the release of water from various dams resulted in the floods in Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli.

The report titled ‘August 2019 Krishna Basin Floods in Maharashtra - Karnataka: How dams harming rather than helping’ which is available on the SANDRP website has blamed human error as one of the major reasons behind the floods.

PB Shelar, executive engineer of Khadakwasla division of the irrigation department, said, “The report which claims that mismanagement in releasing the water from various dams resulted in floods is partially correct. While it is true that water should be released judiciously, there are situations when the discharge of water has to be increased significantly.”

The SANDRP report said that the high rainfall was distributed over eight days and was preceded by warning of high rainfall.

“The question is why were the dams full when monsoon is just about halfway through and India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast much higher rainfall in the remaining part of the monsoon compared to the first half,” the report asked.

It highlighted the need to ensure that the water stored in the dams is judiciously released to make way for possibly high rainfall incidents in the coming weeks.

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