PUNE: Maharashtra could be among the five states in India, where severe water deficit will be experienced in 2019, to the level that has not been witnessed in the last 40 years.
This has emerged in the findings of the latest Global Water Monitor and Forecast Watch List, which was released last month by iSciences, a Michigan-based analytical corporation that publishes studies based on sustainability studies.
According to the 12-month forecast, through July 2019, the water deficit will increase and intensify in the country. The states that are likely to be affected are Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
However, groundwater as well as climate experts have expressed their surprise at the study, saying ground evidence does not show any cause for alarm.
UNDER CONTROL: EXPERTS
Joint Director of Pune-based Groundwater Surveys and Development Agency (GSDA) Satish Umrikar felt that the situation in the State is not as bad as it is made out to be in this forecast.
Executive Director and Secretary, Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) Himanshu Kulkarni said that there is no proper assessment done about the scale of water crisis in the 45,000 villages in State.
“Sustainable crops such as food grain, cereals, oilseeds and millets should be given importance. But, the water crisis is really not suspected as GSDA and we are making people aware about the need to save water and use it properly,” he said.
Umrikar elaborated on the awareness efforts, “We have divided the State into 1,500 watersheds, each having three wells. One is in the topmost section, the second watershed is located in the middle section of the region and the third in the lower part.”
“Our representatives measured the readings of the wells. Based on that, and by comparing pre-monsoon and post-monsoon data of the last five years, 150 odd blocks have been declared as drought-prone,” he added.
Umrikar said that an awareness campaign on water budgeting has begun in these areas.
President of Samagra Nadi Pariwar, Maharashtra, a non-governmental organisation working for water sustainability, Sunil Joshi, strongly felt the biggest problem is lack of design for cropping pattern in Maharashtra. “Sugarcane was grown extensively due to which farmers used a lot of water. Also, due to global warming, (resulting in hot weather), quick evaporation of water has increased,” he said.
“In spite of all that, he said severe water crisis in the State is not a possibility because of the water harvesting work carried out by the State government.”
GSDA Joint Director Satish Umrikar revealed that wastage of water, also known as non-revenue water, is as high as 30 to 35 per cent and if it is cut down by even 10-20 per cent, wonders could happen.