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Water-crisis looms for Saurashtra-Kutch as reservoirs hit half capacity

Updated: Jan 17th, 2024

Water Reservoir (img: Freepik)

Even before the scorching summer months arrive in Gujarat, the water reservoirs have already depleted half of their capacity during the current cold months.

The two two regions that typically are reliant on reservoirs for summer water supply are  Saurashtra and Kutch. This year 141 reservoirs in Saurashtra are operating at 53% storage, while 20 reservoirs in Kutch are at 49% storage.

33 reservoirs in these two regions are currently running at less than 20% of their capacities, and the water is likely to run out before summer sets in. 

16 dams in these regions are emptied more than 90%, while five are completely dry.

In Nov 2023, the situation in these two regions was different, with the water storage in the reservoirs of Saurashtra and Kutch at 73.68% and 68.38%, respectively. These numbers are now at 53.24% and 49.37% experiencing a drop of around 20%.

Even though most of the dams were sufficiently filled in last year’s rains, currently only seven dams have adequate (more than 90%) water in these regions.

The 30 dams in south and central Gujarat saw a 10% storage drop during the same tenure, while the 15 dams in north Gujarat saw 17% of the same.

The Sardar Sarovar dam, world’s second-biggest concrete gravity dam, was nearly running at a 97.62% storage two months ago at 3.26 lakh million cubic feet (mcft), which is now at 77.78% storage with 2.60 lakh mcft water, with the drop of 20% storage like Saurashtra-Kutch.

Water storage across Gujarat

Although the chilly winters see a drop in demand for fresh drinking water, the agricultural sector does require a constant supply. But as this year’s winter didn’t set its foot firmly in Gujarat, the water requirement remained stagnant throughout the season.

As of today, the state’s 107 reservoirs are at 75.28% storage (4.20 lakh mcft out of the total 5.58 lakh mcft), with 59.60% storage in north Gujarat, 85.48% in central Gujarat, 83.62% in south Gujarat, 53.24% in Saurashtra, and the lowest, 49.37% in Kutch, alongside 77.78% storage in Sardar Sarovar, making the state’s water storage at 6.80 lakh mcft against their 8.91 lakh capacity.

State-wise, there is an increase of 2,267 mcft in storage, but a decrease of 1,092 mcft in Saurashtra.

A crisis-like situation in summer could be avoided by reducing water waste, but indiscriminate use of water may inevitably lead to it.

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