Greenpeace India has called upon the Maharashtra government to review the water utilisation by coal-fired thermal power plants owned by the state-run Maharashtra Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) especially in the drought hit areas.
Four state owned power plants, Bhusawal in Jalgaon, Parli in Beed, Paras in Akola and Nasik with an installed capacity of 3,680 MW are located in the drought affected parts of Maharashtra. Parli project has been closed since February for want of water while others are still in operation.
Greenpeace in its report released today estimated that the total water consumed by these power plants till March this year is about 17,000 million litres and are expected to consume another 15,000 million litres till June 2013.
This is equivalent to the water required for more than 6 lakh people a year at a requirement of 135 litres per person per day.
“Even during a drought, the state seems to de-prioritise the drinking water needs of farmers and villagers in the drought affected regions. Additional water seems to have been given to thermal power plants even during December last year despite being fully aware of the upcoming crisis in summer.” said Jai Krishna, Campaigner, Greenpeace.
“Instead of assessing whether the power plants have enough water, the state should concentrate on whether people have sufficient drinking water during this drought” he added.
However, MahaGenco official told Business Standard" The water used by these plats are as per the norms set by the government. Power generation is equally important. Further, MahaGenco also uses the recycled water in these plants."
Moreover, Greenpeace has demanded a cumulative assessment of the water availability and use in the state be conducted on a war footing to ensure that water allocations to thermal power plants are not made in violation of the existing water policy and ensure that drinking and agriculture requirements are prioritised.
Besides this, all previous allocations should be suspended and an immediate moratorium should be imposed on any new allocations till these assessments are completed.