Mumbai: Asking Maharashtra government to take the weak monsoon forecast and low reservoir levels in the state seriously, NGO Greenpeace today demanded urgent assessment of water diversion to thermal power plants.
“Last week, two new pieces of information were released — one by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and another by the state Water Resources Department — which are of great consequence to Maharashtra.
“While the IMD (and private meteorological depts) predicted below average rainfall in the state (and country-over), the WRD disclosed figures showing that water is already dismally low in many reservoirs (especially in Marathwada),” the NGO, working on environment-related issues, said in a statement here.
“The state government should not take these two indicators lightly and undertake an urgent assessment of diverted water in order to stabilise water mismanagement and defend the state from a repeat of the 2012 crisis,” it said.
The Water Resources Department’s weekly report on the current water availability in the state’s reservoirs shows the reservoirs of Marathwada were already dismally low at 31 per cent — Jayakwadi dam (Aurangabad) had only 13 per cent water available, Majalgaon (Beed) only 23 per cent and Manjra (Beed), Lower Terna and Sina Kolegaon (Osmanabad) ran dry,” it said.
In its report ‘Coal Power Plants and Water Use in Maharashtra’, Greenpeace analysed water consumption by four operational coal-fired power plants — Parli in Beed, Bhusawal Thermal Power Station in Jalgaon, Paras in Akola and Nasik Thermal Power station in Nasik — and raised questions over their water consumption during the 2012 drought.
“Maharashtra government’s casual and careless approach towards planning water resources in the state has led to large amount of water being diverted to coal-powered thermal plants,” Greenpeace campaigner Bhagwan Kesbhat said.
“The state needs to take a cue from the recent weather predictions of below average rainfall and ensure that sufficient water is reserved for domestic and irrigation purposes. An immediate assessment of the water diverted to all power plants in the state is obligatory at this point,” he said.
Kesbhat pointed out that if counter measures were not initiated in a timely manner, there was a fear of a repeat of the 2012-13 drought.
Meanwhile, as per WRD figures released today, the water storage in all small, medium and large reservoirs in the state today was 1,21,66 million cubic metres, compared to 1,01,05 on this day last year and 1,16,20 in 2012.