Mumbai, July 16: The Godavari river basin located in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha and Marathwada needs Rs 68,000 Crore to complete ongoing irrigation projects says the water plan report submitted to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The state has five river basins with the Godavari basin being the largest, contributing to 48% of the state’s water resource.
By looking at existing dams, projects and pointing to surplus and no surplus water areas, the three-part report is submitted including mapping of the Godavari basin and water availability as per the tribunal. The report has also proposed financing of these projects up to 2029-30.
In both regions, there are 626 ongoing projects; several of these projects were cleared at the directive of contractors instead of checking water availability and requirement of the area.
First envisaged in 2005, an integrated water plan refers to the mapping of existing river basins, ground water tables in the state to arrive at water distribution and an equitable development plan for the state.
No new projects can be taken up until ongoing ones are completed if the government goes with the recommendations of the integrated water plan committee for the Godavari basin.
The report also reveals that while surplus water is available in the lower Vidarbha region, there is less scope for water storage in Marathwada and absolutely none in Nasik and Ahmednagar, where the water storage possibility has been exhausted. The earliest a new project can be taken up in Marathwada is in 2020-21, while a new project can be taken up in Vidarbha in 2024-25, says report.
The Godavari committee was set up in 2016, meanwhile, the big challenge before the government is to speedily execute other river basins water plans and accept recommendations made by the expert committees.
Former bureaucrat and chairman of the Godavari river basin water plan committee KP Bakshi informed that so far in this basin, across North Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha, 4,325 irrigation projects have been completed and 670 are ongoing. Many of these projects were cleared solely on paper without any scrutiny of water availability and now these should be cross-checked with the integrated plan.
It can be expected that the Godavari report will create an effect on the integrated river basin water plans for the remaining four basins, including Krishna, Tapi, Narmada and make the integrated water map for the entire state.