On June 6, Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister, Gujarat, approved a project worth Rs 3,475 crores to provide an additional one million acre-feet of water from the Narmada river to Kutch district. As per reports, the project will benefit 96 villages under six talukas of Kutch district, including Anjar, Mandvi, Rapar, Bhuj and Nakhatrana. These villages have a population of about 3.8 lakh.
Under the said project, 38 water bodies, including Saran lake, would be filled with water from Narmada that will benefit farmers and cattle. The 357 kilometres long Kutch branch canal branches off from the central canal of the Narmada river. So far, work on 333 kilometres is completed, and the remaining stretch is in progress.
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.
Water conservation helped in increasing the dam’s reserves
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.