Yavatmal seeks government help to combat water crisis

Yavatmal: As the tribal-dominated Yavatmal in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region faces an unprecedented water scarcity, the district administration has submitted a proposal to the government to combat the crisis.

The Nilona dam, which is the main source of drinking water supply to the city and peripheral villages, and its reservoir have dried up alarmingly, forcing the Maharashtra Water Supply department to reschedule its supply time table to the city, and it is now restricted to once in four days.

The district administration is keeping a close vigil over the drinking water issue, particularly in the villages, and so far 27 tankers, 12 of government and 15 of private agencies, have been deployed to provide water to over 34 scarcity-hit villages in the district.

District Collector Sachindra Pratap Singh said they have submitted a proposal of Rs 9 crore to state government for tackling the drinking water problem faced by residents of Yavatmal. The amount is yet to be received, he said.

Given the scarcity situation, the residents are forced to lock their water storage tanks fearing theft in the night. Some of them have even painted their names on the tanks so that it would be traced even if it is stolen, sources said.

The Collector said in view of the prevailing situation, water from reserved drinking storage in dams has been released to the rivers so that the water table is raised.

"We have ordered to release reserved water from the dam reservoir of 26 projects across the district," he said, adding that he is keen to minimise the drinking water problem faced by the people.

"To combat the water scarcity, we acquire public wells and this year 397 wells have so far been acquired," Singh said, adding that sanctioning of borewells is under consideration for which 225 spots in 216 villages were examined, of which only 104 were found suitable.

"I have sanctioned 98 such proposals," he said. Besides, temporary tap water scheme, repairing of the defunct tap water scheme and removal of silt and deepening of wells was being carried out across the district so that the water problem does not increase, the Collector said.

As per data gathered from the office of a senior geologist of ground water surveys, the ground water table across the district has been slightly depleted to the extent of 0.15 metres as compared to the previous five years average.

The reason for the minor depletion is shortage of rainfall in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Singh said the ground water table in Yavatmal is
comparatively higher than the neighbouring districts like Amravati, Washim and Akola.

"There is no need for any alarm as the administration is fully prepared to meet any eventuality arising out of late arrival of monsoon," he assured.

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