maharashtra dams
maharashtra dams

Mumbai :  Facing the worst water scarcity in the past few years, the state government is considering bringing in a new legislation to make it mandatory for all industries to use recycled water.

The step has been necessitated by the severe drought conditions, especially in Marathwada region, Industries minister Subhash Desai told the FPJ here on Wednesday.

Commenting on the grim situation, Desai pointed out that the region has witnessed a mushroom growth of sugar mills and liquor distilleries. These sugar mills and distilleries notoriously guzzle water — for producing one kg of sugar, at least 2,500 litres of water is required. When you consider the lakh of tonnes of sugar produced by these mills and the tonnes of sugar that is exported, you are actually exporting that much lakh litres of water.

‘‘Most of these sugar mills, which completed their crushing season between September and November, have already consumed the existing water stock in the irrigation dams in the region,” remarked Desai.

Of the 11 major dams in Marathwada, seven have almost gone dry. They have zero percentage of water stock. As per the data released by the State Water Resources department for the week ending April 15, just three percent of water stock remains in all the 814 major, medium and minor irrigation projects in Marathwada region.

Apart from the seven dams that have gone dry, two out of the other four irrigation dams in the region are left with just 2 and 7 per cent of water stock, respectively; 75 minor irrigation dams in Marathwada have just four percent water stock; and the 728 minor irrigation projects in the region have just 3 percent of the water stock left.

The move of the government to make it mandatory for industries to use recycled water will save precious water during times of drought, which can be supplied for drinking water purposes, Desai added. The industries department will also undertake a project under which the height of dams will be raised and lakes will be deepened, the Minister added.

He also clarified that the government has not stopped supply of water to industries in the state. The Rashtriya Chemical Fertiliser plant at Chembur is already using recycled water supplied by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for its boilers, he added.

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