Ecologist Madhav Gadgil said on Tuesday that Kolhapur and Sangli districts in western Maharashtra bore the brunt of devastating floods last week because there was a mismanagement of major reservoirs.
Speaking to reporters, Gadgil, who was head of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, said the Maharashtra Water Resources Department failed to manage water storage in Koyna, Warana and Radhanagari dams.
"Hence Kolhapur and Sangli districts suffered," he said.
He echoed the view of non-profit group South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) that officials of the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments mismanaged the reservoirs.
He said there should have been preventive discharge of water from Koyna, Warana and Radhanagari dams as well as Almatti in Karnataka whose backwaters are in Maharashtra.
SANDRP report said that Almatti dam on the Krishna river hugely contributed to floods in Kolhapur and Sangli.
It was filled over 99.5 per cent by July end with almost two full months of monsoon to go and has live storage capacity of 119.26 TMC, but the discharge from it was only 3,045 cubic feet per second (cusec) to start with, the report said.
This was in "complete violation" of rules of "prudent reservoir management", said the report.
The Karnataka government eventually agreed to discharge 5 lakh cusecs water from the dam to help ease the floods in western Maharashtra.
As Kolhapur and Sangli started receiving torrential rain from the first week of August, the dam operators released more water, but it was "a losing battle against mounting inflows that peaked at 6,00,049 cusecs on August 11," said the report.
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