Maharashtra is facing an acute water shortage, with dams in the state storing only half of their total capacity, state Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar said on Monday.
"The situation is very grim. Dams in the state hold (an average of) only 46 per cent water of the total installed capacity," Pawar said. Maharashtra's total installed capacity is 33,085 million cubic metres. Of this, only 15,252 mcm of water is available, he said.
The minister said that considering the grim situation, water is being stored till July 15 next year, only for drinking purposes. "The district collectors will take charge of the management of the dams. Surplus water will be allocated to farmers," Pawar said.
The capacities of Koyna, Jaywakwadi and Ujani -- the three main dams in the state -- were not being utilised completely, he said. "Koyna has only 83 per cent water stored, while Jayakwadi and Ujani have 13 per cent and 33 per cent respectively," Pawar said.
Last week, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said 48 districts in the three states of Maharashtra, Assam and Nagaland have reported drought-like conditions.
According to recent data, 177 districts in the country have been declared drought affected.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his Independence Day address, said the government would extend all possible assistance to farmers to deal with drought and will step up efforts to control spiraling prices.