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The Indian Express : National Network


Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Rain-lashed Gujarat still drinks from tankers


GANDHINAGAR, JULY 10: In spite of a reasonably good monsoon in Gujarat this year, the drinking water problem of the state remains unsolved. Tankers continue to take water to hundreds of towns and villages in the Saurashtra-Kutch region here.

The regions are facing drinking water scarcity despite access to Narmada water via the Saurashtra pipeline project.

Rajkot and Kutch districts, and some districts in north Gujarat are the worst hit. Dams here have received very little water.

‘‘We have no other option but to continue running water tankers and providing Narmada water to villages and towns in Rajkot, Kutch, Amreli, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, and the Bhal region of Ahmedabad district,’’ said K.B. Patel, member-secretary of Gujarat Water Supply Board.

Patel, however, said the Dhasa-Mahuva and Botad-Jaffrabad water trains, which had been pressed into service to supply drinking-water to Bhavnagar and Amreli districts, had been withdrawn since Narmada water had reached these places. Tanker service to villages will also be withdrawn soon, provided they receive enough rain, he added.

Of the 120 large and medium dams in Saurashtra, the irrigation department had reserved water in as many as 36 for drinking. But over half of these are either empty or have received scanty rains. Of the 11 dams in Rajkot district, only three have gathered enough water.

A senior official said the situation in Kutch, north and central Gujarat was no better. While dams in Kutch have received only 19 per cent of their gross storage capacity of 300 million cubic meters (MCM) of water, rain waters received by dams in Banaskantha and Sabarkantha are a meagre seven per cent each, as against capacities of 630 MCMs and 541 MCMs respectively.

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