Ujani dam water level second-lowest since 2018
This rainy season, major dams in Maharashtra are recording low water storage leading to concerns over the impact on agriculture, industry
This rainy season, major dams in Maharashtra are recording low water storage leading to concerns over the impact on agriculture, industry and electricity generation. The Ujani dam has recorded 21.69% water storage till September 24, which is the second-lowest water storage since 2018 when the dam had recorded 59% water deficiency.
Water from the Ujani dam is used for irrigation purposes, especially in Solapur, Indapur and Baramati where crops such as sugarcane, wheat, millets and cotton are grown in the irrigated areas. Ujani dam officials said that since current water levels are sufficient only to fulfil drinking water needs, sectors such as agriculture, industry and allied electricity generation are likely to be affected in the post-monsoon period.
Raosaheb More, executive engineer, Ujani dam, said, “This year, the water storage level is very low and it can only cater to drinking water needs. Although there is hope for increase in the water level due to rainfall activity, and we are expecting the water level to increase in the coming days. Rainfall till October 15 is crucial for dam water storage.”
“The deficit in water storage will affect sectors such as agriculture, industry, and electricity generation. The sugar industry in Solapur and the adjoining areas will suffer due to water cuts in both irrigation and industry water supply. Electricity generation will be affected and so will allied electricity generation plants at various sugar mills as sugarcane production and supply would be affected due to water shortage,” More said.
Bhigwan, a lake located on the Ujani backwaters, is also called ‘Bharatpur of Maharashtra’ as it is a magnet for birds, especially migratory birds. More than 230 species of migratory birds are found here including ducks, herons, egrets, raptors, waders and of course, flamingos. Low water storage can affect the biodiversity of this place, especially the migratory birds that are often sighted during the winter season, said environmental experts.
Like the Ujani dam, the Koyna dam, too, has recorded 10 to 13% deficit in water storage this monsoon. While this is considered a normal category rainfall deficit, the water supply format of the dam is likely to be affected in the post-monsoon period.
Ashish Jadhav, Koyna dam maintenance, Koyna Nagar, said, “Every year, the dam experiences 10 to 15% excess water however this scenario is likely to change this year as downstream areas like Sangli have received less rainfall this monsoon. Hence, there will be an increase in water demand for irrigation.”
“As per standard practice, 67.5 TMC of water from the Koyna dam is provided for electricity generation and 50 TMC of water is reserved for irrigation purposes. These figures are likely to change as irrigation may require more water in the coming days,” Jadhav said.
In such a situation, there could be a cut in water supply for electricity generation, or in water supply for irrigation, or in water supply for both purposes. A policy decision is expected after October 15. In 2015 as well, the Koyna Dam had experienced a rainfall deficit.