17 districts in Maharashtra's Marathwada, Vidarbha regions facing drought-like situation, says water department

Mumbai: A threat of drought looms large over 17 districts in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra due to deficient rainfall and excess use of water for sugarcane cultivation, officials said.

Most parts of Marathwada received average rainfall this monsoon and the water stock in the region stands at just 28.81 percent, according to figures of the water resources department.

 17 districts in Maharashtras Marathwada, Vidarbha regions facing drought-like situation, says water department

Representational image. AFP

The Jayakwadi dam, considered lifeline of Marathwada, has around 45.88 percent water stock as of Tuesday, compared to 87.63 percent the same day in 2017.

"At least 17 districts are under a threat of drought-like situation," an official from the water resources department said, adding that it was too early to predict if the regions would  face severe scarcity.

"The meeting of the sub-committee on relief and rehabilitation, headed by revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, is yet to be held and a final decision to declare the areas as drought-prone is likely to be taken after 15 October, another official said.

"Sugarcane cultivation requires a large amount of water. There was sufficient water stock in the Manjara dam in Beed district in 2017, but it has almost dried today due to excess use of its water to cultivate sugarcane," Minister of State for Water Resources Vijay Shivtare said.

An official from the revenue department said it is a general practice to conduct a panchnama or an initial survey of the loss of crops after 15 October.

"Until the panchnama is conducted, the state cannot declare an area as drought-prone. But, the situation is grim and at least 17 districts are under the threat of drought-like situation," he said.

As per official figures, the Manjara dam in Beed has 1.80 percent water stock as compared to 88.04 percent in 2017, while the Majalgaon dam in the same district has completely dried up. It had 60.48 per cent stock in 2017.

Out of nine major dams in the Marathwada region, two have dried up and there is an average 28.81 percent water stock in the other dams.

In the Amravati division of western Vidarbha, there is an average water stock of 57.37 percent in dams, while in the Nagpur division in east Vidarbha, it is 50.02 percent.

Updated Date: Sep 19, 2018 18:25:23 IST