Amidst the ongoing water crisis even as summer sets in, Gujarat has now sought more than double the amount of water from Madhya Pradesh. Due to water shortage, while MP releases 600 cusecs of water daily, Gujarat has asked the same to be increased to 1500 cusecs.
While it has been facing crisis on both agricultural and domestic fronts, Gujarat government has cited the impact of lower quantity of water on coastal and marine environment as the reason for its demand. The demand has been made to the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), a nodal agency managing water allocation.
Nitin Patel, deputy chief minister of Gujarat, however, has stated that the government has sought more Narmada waters on a "permanent basis" and not because of water shortage currently. "We have sought it looking at the environmental impact it will have on the coastal and marine biodiversity. It is necessary for more waters to be released."
According to Patel, the demand for more Narmada water has been made in order to protect the coastal areas near Bharuch from salinity ingress and to save the marine ecology.
It needs to be mentioned here that the state government had earlier stopped the supply of water to farmers for irrigation from Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river in the wake of water crisis.
With this, the government had reserved the remaining water stock solely for industrial and domestic household purposes.
The water level in the Sardar Sarovar dam is at about 105 meters, roughly less than 50 per cent of the normal. Moreover, the spread of water in the reservoir which was across 214 km during monsoon season, has shrunk to less than 90 km area.
After stopping water for irrigation, the outflow of water has come down from around 9000 cusecs early this week to around 4900 cusecs now, with 4300 cusecs for drinking purposes, with the rest being used for downstream in the river.
"This year, the water storage in Narmada dam is at 50 per cent of normal. South Gujarat has less water, while that in Saurashtra and North Gujarat is sufficient for drinking water purposes. We had already informed the farmers much in advance not to take summer crop and they have done so," minister of state for irrigation and water supply Parbat Patel had earlier stated.