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State forms committee to study water distribution from dams in Bhima basin

PUNE The state government water resource department has decided to form a committee to address the issue of access to water from four dams - Khadakwasla, Warasgaon, Panshet and Ujjani – all in the Bhima basin
By Siddharth Gadkari
PUBLISHED ON MAY 20, 2021 08:01 PM IST

PUNE The state government water resource department has decided to form a committee to address the issue of access to water from four dams - Khadakwasla, Warasgaon, Panshet and Ujjani – all in the Bhima basin.

On Thursday, the government issued the order to form a four-member committee under the chairmanship of retired secretary of the water resource department. The committee will include chief engineer of the Jal Vidnyan Prakalp (Nashik), chief engineer of the water resource division, Pune, and superintendent engineer of the Pune Irrigation division. The government has as asked for a report in three months.

Avinash Surve, chairman of the committee, said, “The irrigation department does water management on the basis of availability of water, crop patterns, purposes of water (drinking, industry, agriculture). After some time, the situation changes and we have to make changes. Climate change will affect rainfall and will directly impact the availability of water.”

There are 25 dams in the Bhima basin, spread across three sub-basins – the Bhima sub-basin, the Neera sun-basin and the Mula-Mutha sub-basi - with 17 reservoirs.

The need for the panel comes against the background of Pune city increasing its demand for water from the dams, to serve an expanding population.

Given Pune city’s increasing water usage, the rural areas of Pune district are complaining of a water shortage.

A decision on increasing the water quota for Pune city is pending.

Pune’s annual water usage has increased from 11.50 thousand million litres per cubic feet (TMC) to 18.50 thousand million TMC, annually.

As per statistics released by the water resource department, the population in the rural areas of Pune district is forecast to reach 4.520 million; and the urban population, 9.265 million, by 2030.

Meanwhile, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is accessing the Bhama-Askhed dam for water, which is 45km away from the city. Twenty-three villages have also been cleared to merge with the PMC limits.

The committee will start a pilot project in the Bhima sub-basin to study and review water distribution.

The committee will give recommendations based on the pattern of water usage, irrigation capacity, proportion of sludge, and increasing capacity of projects.

“Due to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, the basic planning of water distribution has changed. Water usages vary. We will study supplying more water to cities and the increasing pressure on the agriculture sector to find a solution. We will have to increase the capacity of Pune city’s water usage, as well as the agriculture water usage,” Surve said.

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