Less than 8% water left in dams

Pune: The delay in the arrival of monsoon and inadequate pre-season showers have made water shortage more acute in the city with water levels in dams dipping to 7.5% of their capacity.

The water stock, roughly 2.19 TMC, will cater to the city’s needs for another 50 days only. Storage in Temghar dam is at 0%, while the stock in Panshet, Varasgaon and Khadakwasla dams has dropped below 1 TMC. The dams held 9.29%, nearly 2.77 TMC, this time last year.

Some rain was recorded in the catchment areas of the dams in the last week, however, it made no difference in the water level. Of the 25 major dams in Bhima basin, water stock in six dams has already reached 0% and stock in four dams is about to reach that mark. The stock in Ujani dam dropped to minus 51% as water from the dead stock is being utilized to meet people’s requirements.

Though the depleting water levels have led to a lot of anxiety across the city, irrigation department officials say there’s no need to press the panic button yet. The officials remain confident that the current stock in the dams will meet the city’s requirements till the end of July. Besides, they say, all the four dams that supply water to the city are located in the regions that will receive rainfall by next month.

A senior official from the irrigation department said that as per earlier records, catchment areas of Temghar, Panshet and Varasgaon dams witness good rain spells in June and July. He hoped that a similar trend would continue this year too.

The official said that the city has been drawing about 1.1TMC water every month since water cuts were imposed. This implies that the current stock of 2.19TMC, which is reserved only for drinking purposes, will cater to the city’s requirements almost till July 31. By then, rainwater would get accumulated in the dams, the official added.

These assurances aside, residents continue to be agitated as each of the four dams – especially Panshet and Varasgaon, both of which have more than 10TMC storage capacity – would need rainfall of 1,500mm to 2,000mm to completely fill up. Water would have to be pulled out of the 1TMC dead stock if scanty rains continue till July.

Last year, the dams had each received over 1,000mm rainfall, but had failed to reach their maximum capacity. Statistics show that of the four dams, Temghar usually records the highest rainfall, followed by Varasgaon, Panshet and Khadakwasla.
The city has been receiving alternate day water supply for the last nine months to ensure water lasts till the arrival of the monsoon. Water released for agriculture was also cut down during the winter and summer months.

The irrigation department released 1TMC water last month for Indapur and Daund, a decision that was criticized by political parities. “The release will prove costly if rains play truant in the coming days,” a leader of a political party cautioned.

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