Late rains last week wash away drought fears in Maharashtra

Mumbai: Reeling under drought-like conditions just a few days ago, Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra now have drinking water stock that will last till June, thanks to a bout of heavy rainfall last week.

This was stated by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, citing reports sent by District Collectors. The late downpour has come as a big relief for the BJP-led Government.

"According to the reports sent to me by District Collectors today, drinking water problem has eased in five of the seven districts in Marathwada (due to bountiful showers last week). There is enough water for cattle as well. The worst-hit regions have enough water to last till March next year and overall there is enough water to last till June 2016," Fadnavis told reporters here.

The number of water tankers put into service has come down to 64 from 143 (when water scarcity was severe) in Aurangabad, the main district of Marathwada. Water storage in Jaikwadi dam, one of the largest in Maharashtra, has increased to 7 per cent from 4.25 per cent. In Jalna, for the first time, Galathi dam has been filled upto 70 per cent, he said.

Fadnavis said the plentiful showers have also brought cheers in other Marathwada districts like Beed and Parbhani. "In Parbhani, water storage in Yeldari dam has gone up to 13.5 per cent from 3.5 per cent and in Lower Dudhana dam to 55 per cent from 27 per cent," he said.

In the parched Latur district too, drinking water problem has been solved to some extent and the area under Rabi cultivation is likely to increase significantly, he said.

In Hingoli, water level in Siddheshwar and Isapur dams increased from 0 per cent to 14 per cent and 21 per cent to 34 per cent respectively.

"Number of water tankers has been reduced to 80 from 226 in Nanded. The number has been significantly reduced in other districts also, while Hingoli has almost become free of water tankers.

"Also, almost all structures made under Jal Yukta Shivar Abhiyan have got filled with rainwater, thereby increasing irrigation potential," Fadnavis said.

'Jal Yukta Shivar Abhiyan' involves deepening and widening of streams, construction of cement and earthen stop dams, work on nullahs and digging of farm ponds.

Parts of Vidarbha and Western Maharashtra also received heavy rainfall in the last few days.

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