Amid buzz about water cuts, dam levels give reason for hope

Over the past month, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has raised several red flags over water supply this summer, even proposing a day’s cut every week. But amid the early alarms, there is some hope too, according to data maintained by the Maharashtra Water Resources Department.

The four dam systems of Khadakwasla, Panshet, Temghar and Warasgaon are the main suppliers of water to the city. And the latest data show the water level at Khadakwasla at 56.41 per cent of capacity on May 5 with 61.54 Mcum (million cubic metres) – up from 40.57 per cent on the same day last year. Similarly, the data show the water level at Warasgaon at 48.10 per cent of capacity with 186.41 Mcum, which is much higher than the 36.45 recorded on the same day last year.

However, Panshet with 27.65 per cent ( 38.61 last year) and Temghar with 6.69 per cent (11.94 per cent last year) reported lesser levels, according to May 5 data.

The data assume significance in the wake of several meetings held over water supply in Pune this summer. Besides, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently asked the state administration to be ready with a contingency plan in case of a delayed or below-average monsoon.

For Pune, April has been fruitful with 46.7 mm of rainfall, a sharp spike from the average of 6 mm that the city usually receives in the month. Last year, for instance, Pune received 0 mm of rainfall in April.

Yet, in anticipation of a long summer, the PMC has pressed the alarm bells, banning usage of potable water for construction projects.

Asked about the rise in water levels at two key dams, a PMC official said, “Until now, water management was being done till July-end every year. However, the state government has given instructions to extend this to August citing the possibility of prolonged monsoon and less rainfall.”

The official said, “The water in the dams should last till August-end as against July-end. But the increasing heat is likely to affect storage in the coming months due to evaporation and consumption. The state water resource department will have to supply water for irrigation purposes, too.”