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Excess reservoir water may result in floods: Report
A Correspondent | June 25, 2007 20:59 IST
Last Updated: June 26, 2007 19:14 IST
According to the latest Central Water Commission report, as many as 41 reservoirs across the country are choked up with excess water that might result in disastrous floods especially in the western and southern belt of the country.
The situation is expected to turn ugly with the onset of monsoon in these regions.
The CWC report stated that out of 76 reservoirs under the committee's purview, 41 had water filled upto more than 20 per cent of their capacity while another 20 had water stored more than one-third of their storage capacity.
Ideally, the storage level in reservoirs should be 10 percent or less than their capacity.
The outrageous water-levels of reservoirs in drought prone areas like Vidarbha (Maharashtra), Gujarat and Rajasthan cannot be justified on any grounds.
It should be noted that the extreme drought conditions and the lack of availability of water for irrigation have resulted in numerous farmer suicides in the Vidarbha belt.
Ironically, the reservoirs in Vidarbha region have adequate water stored in them which apparently never reached the poor farmers.
According to the available data, this has been the case with the four main reservoirs in the region namely, the Upper Painganga (44 per cent of its 964 million cubic metres capacity reservoir full on June 16), Kamthi Khairi (88 per cent), Upper Wardha (33 per cent) and Arunawati (28 per cent).
The prime minister's much celebrated Vidarbha package is mostly constituted of additional resources of large irrigation projects in this region.
The situation is identical in neighbouring Gujarat and Rajasthan. Water levels in Kadana and Panam dams, in the drought-prone northern Gujarat, are alarming. The dams built on Mahi river, that deluged the state last year, had 54 per cent and 38 per cent excess water, while Ukai dam on Tapi river in southern Gujarat held more than 38 per cent of its storage capacity.
This was later brought down to 18 per cent by June 15. The Tapi river had ravaged Surat and downstream regions with unprecedented floods last year.
Excess water is stored in Dharoi and Jakham dams in Rajasthan. The Chambal basin in the state is awaiting a re-run of the 2006 floods as Gandhi Sagar and Rana Pratap Sagar reservoirs have also been filled beyond their maximum capacity.
The Gangrel Dam (41 per cent) and Hansdeo Bango (27 per cent), both in Chhattisgarh, and Hirakud dam (42 per cent) in Orissa are also awaiting floods.
The water-level is alarmingly high in the river basins like Tapi, Mahi, Sabarmati, Chambal, Krishna and Godavari.
These basins faced disastrous floods during last year's monsoon. According to experts, the disaster could have been either avoided or toned down if the water levels in these reservoirs were properly maintained.
Interestingly, none of the officials who bungled up with these reservoirs, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives and crores of property, were legally prosecuted or taken to task in any manner.
This highlights the need for a transparent and accountable reservoir policy and reservoir operation rules with legal implications.
This year's monsoon has already left a trail of death and destruction in western and southern India in its opening spell.
If the concerned Public Works Department officials and others do not take the initiative to bring down the water levels in these reservoirs, catastrophic floods can be expected without any fail in these regions.