Mumbai : The state government is contemplating on opting for the river linking way to find a solution to the water crisis in the Marathwada region whereby water from Gujarat would be brought into the reservoirs of Marathwada.
A delegation of central water commission (CWC) officials recently visited parts of the state and suggested linking Damanganga-Pinjal river-linking project to Uppar Vaitarna dam and the Mukne dam near Igatpuri in Nashik district from where the excess water can then be carried to the Jaikwadi reservoir which caters to the major part of Marathwada.
The Damanganga-Pinjal link project was basically conceived to cater to water needs of Mumbai. The project proposes to divert surplus waters available at Bhugad and Khargihill reservoirs in Damanganga basin to Pinjal dam across the river Pinjal in Vaitarna basin. It is expected to make 909 MCM of more water available for domestic and industrial use.
The project consists of construction of three storage reservoirs Bhugad, Khargihill and Pinjal. It also has two tunnels a 16.85 km long one to connect Bhugad and Khargihill reservoirs and other 25.70 km long on to connect Khargihill and Pinjal reservoirs.
Though the project had been conceived for a long time, it was put on a backburner for past few years as the submergence areas under the proposed Pinjal reservoir comprises of 1,175 hectares of forest land. But, the CWC officials have now said that if and additional link is established between the Pinjal river and the Upper Vaitarna reservoir, the problem of submergence can be kept to minimal level avoiding damage to the environment and the excess water from the Damanganga river can be diverted to Marathwada region.
When asked about the project, agriculture minister Eknath Khadse said that it is too early to say anything as the project is yet to be conceived properly.
Commenting on the cost factor of the project, he said that considering the number of tunnels and reservoirs that will have to be constructed, the cost of the project may well be around Rs 7,000 – 8,000 crore and the project might take many years to complete.