Water In Marathwada Dams At An Unprecedented Low Of 2%

03/05/2016 11:25 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Hindustan Times via Getty Images
LATUR, INDIA - MARCH 23: People lined up with their pots to collect drinking water from government boring on March 23, 2016 in Latur, India. Of the total 1,133 farmers committed suicide in the region due to causes ranging from crop failure from lack of water to inability to meet loan payments, reported across the eight districts of Marathwada last year, 301were from Beed district. Summer’s just beginning but temperatures are already crossing 40 degrees Celsius in Beed, Latur and Osmanabad, the three districts worst-hit by the drought that is ravaging Marathwada. For the 65 lakh people who live there, it’s a struggle to get even their daily ration of 20 litres of water, hardly a bucketful. According to officials, of the 75 medium dams in Marathwada, 54 have completely dried up. The state had also declared drought in a few thousand villages in Vidarbha. The Maharashtra Govt’s Jalyukt Shivar scheme, which plans to make the state drought free by 2019 by widening streams and dam construction, may be underway but with barely 2 per cent water remaining in dams across Beed district, the scheme may find it difficult to prove its impact. (Photo by Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

There's at least another month and a half to go for the monsoon but the dams in drought-struck Marathwada are already drying up, with only 2 percent water remaining. This is an unprecedented low for the region.

Eight of the 11 major dams are already at dead storage level, reported The Times of India. No water is flowing out anymore, and the only way to retrieve it is to lift it out from the dams to serve the regions' 8,522 villages.

Though this is the fourth year of drought in this region in the last five years, water in these dams was 10 percent at this time of the year. Deficient rainfall since 2014 and other factors like sugarcane cultivation have made the situation worse. Though the state officials believe they have enough water to sustain themselves till monsoon, there is a hint of desperation in their analysis of the situation.

"We are hopeful the monsoon will come earlier," state water resources minister Girish Mahajan told TOI.

Already, water is no longer being supplied to the industries in the region, making drinking water supply the top priority. Dam levels have declined across Maharashtra but it is Marathwada that has seen the sharpest drop.

Experts have pointed out several reasons for failure of the big dams in the region, blaming it on politics, sugarcane production, and faulty planning.

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