Faced with drought-like situation, Maharashtra starts water conservation

August 5th, 2008 - 1:11 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 4 (IANS) Alarmed by the inadequate rainfall that has created a drought-like situation in Maharashtra, the state government Monday announced measures to conserve water. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has directed all the concerned authorities to use chemicals or polymers in minor and medium dams to prevent evaporation of water.

“Since we have had inadequate rains so far, we must strengthen efforts to store and plan judicious use of water as a long-term solution,” Deshmukh told a meeting of senior state government officials and water conservations experts here Monday evening.

A high-ranking official from the agriculture department said that use of polymers is a proven solution for water conservation.

“It can be effectively used on the surface of small and big dams to prevent water evaporation to a large extent,” he said.

The polymer, known as Jal-Shakti has been developed by Pune’s National Chemicals Laboratory, and tested at the Indirasagar dam at Khed-Ragurunagar in Pune district.

Maharashtra’s 164 of 355 sub-districts face a drought-like situation with the water level in big, medium and minor irrigation projects at barely 29 percent, a government report last week said.

The authorities have deployed over 1,700 water tankers to supply drinking water to as many villages and over 1,400 hamlets at a cost of nearly Rs.550 million, with a provision for spending another Rs.910 million.

So far, around 100,000 people have been given work in rural areas under the employment guarantee scheme (EGS) implemented by the government last month.

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