The Gujarat government on Monday approved a project which aims to provide additional "one million acre feet" of the Narmada floodwaters, overflowing from the Sardar Sarovar dam, to the arid Kutch region. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has given an in-principle nod to various works worth Rs 3,475 crore to be carried out under this project, an official release said, adding the Water Resources department has been directed to start the works at the earliest.
The project envisages to fill up 38 dams along with several check dams and lakes in Kutch district with the additional Narmada water, which will benefit the agricultural land spread over 2.35 lakh acres in 96 villages of Rapar, Anjar, Mundra, Mandvi and Bhuj talukas, said the release, adding the project will also recharge ground water.
As per the state government's estimate, 3.80 lakh people from these six talukas would reap benefits of this ambitious project. The water from the Narmada river would help farmers in not only irrigating their crop, but also for growing fodder for their cattle. This project would also stop the migration of cattle rearers of this region in the wake of weak monsoon, as they would not face shortage of water, said the release. Narmada dam to provide irrigation water in summer for the first time.
Earlier, it was reported that in 2021, it would be the first time the Narmada dam can provide irrigation water in summer since its inauguration in 2017. The dam is often termed as the “lifeline of Gujarat”. Notably, it does not have water for irrigation during summers, but this year, the dam had 122.72 meters with live storage of 1,711 million cubic meters in June.
According to Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), for the first time in history, all 35 dams and reservoirs, close to 1,200 check dams and 1000 village tanks have been filled with Narmada water. Reportedly, the dam had an inflow of around 15,000 cusecs and an outflow of around 43,000 cusecs in June. Out of these, 13,965 cusecs were released after power generation from the Canal Head Power House and 30,361 cusecs from Riverbed Powerhouse.
There are four party states that share the resources from this dam that are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, based on the ratio stipulated by a 1979 judgement of the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal. The Narmada River project is termed as a classic case of Integrated River Basin Planning, Development, and Management, along with water storage available in all major, medium, and minor dams on the main river and its tributaries.
Notably, several steps have been taken to reduce water consumption that helped in increasing the dam’s reserves. The reservoir operations have been synchronised with the rain forecast in the catchment area. Several measures to ensure water is used during the dam overflow period reduces the pressure of the reserved quota. Also, in the non-monsoon period, several measures have been taken to use the water efficiently to reduce conventional and operational losses. Any type of water wastage is being reduced at all levels. Proper maintenance of canals, structures and linked projects have helped in reducing wastage. The government has also restricted water-intensive perennial crops in the region to improve water levels.