Mumbai, Jan 16 (IANS) With the next monsoon six months away and large parts of Maharashtra already reeling under drought-like conditions, a minister Wednesday mooted compulsory rainwater harvesting to combat the crisis.
Water Supply Minister Laxman Dhoble said that it was imperative for major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and others to make provision for rainwater harvesting (RWH) in all residential and commercial dwellings.
"If they fail to make arrangements for RWH, no new buildings should be granted permission," Dhoble said, speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a national seminar on water recycling organised by Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (MCCIA).
Later this evening, the state government announced that the water levels in 2,468 reservoirs across the state had fallen to an alarming average of 48 percent.
The worst-hit is the Marathwada region with just an average of 17 percent water left before the next monsoon, while the situation in the coastal Konkan region was the most comfortable with 76 percent available storage.
Nearly 1,400 tankers have been deployed to supply water to around a 1,000 villages around the state, while the state has made arrangements for food and shelter for the cattle and other livestock at a cost of Rs.2.15 billion.
Urging people to make sensible use of available water, Dhoble warned that even the groundwater levels have dropped as also the lake levels.
"In order to address the problems of water shortage in the cities, the water supply department is discussing various measures with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and all municipalities in the state," Dhoble said.
For tackling the water crises on a long term basis, Dhoble urged that all buildings must install a RWH facility, which should be made mandatory in all the big cities, and citizens' involvement to save water, waterbodies and exploring ways and means to recharge the groundwater.