From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan
Mains level : Various schemes for drought management
Jalyukta Shivar, the flagship water conservation project launched by the earlier government has been officially scrapped by the present Maha government.
What is Jalyukta Shivar?
- Launched in December 2014 after Maharashtra experienced consecutive droughts, the project aimed at rolling out measures that could potentially mitigate water scarcity in the most drought-prone villages in a systematic manner.
- Nearly 52 per cent of the state’s geographical area is prone to drought, either naturally or due to poor rainfall.
- This includes Marathwada and adjoining areas of Madhya Maharashtra and large parts of Vidarbha.
- The project targeted strengthening and streamlining existing water resources like canals, bunds and ponds by arresting maximum run-off rainwater during monsoon.
- Tasks to widen and deepen natural water streams and connect them to nearby water storage facilities like earthen or concrete check-dams were proposed.
- In the first phase, planned during 2015 – 2019, Jalyukta Shivar envisaged making 5,000 villages drought-free, every year.
- During its proposed tenure, the government eyed at making 25,000 drought-prone villages water-sufficient.
Was Jalyukta Shivar beneficial?
- While the exact number of villages that were declared drought-free remains unknown, the programme attempted to bring water stress down in a majority of the most water-scarce villages in the state.
- In January last year, then CM had announced that the scheme had transformed 16,000 drought-prone villages of Maharashtra.
What is the future of water conservation in the state?
- Geologists and hydrologists, who worked on implementing the project, shared similar views and hailed Jalyukta Shivar.
- This was mainly due to the interventions undertaken in the existing water reserves, planned de-silting activities, among many others.
- However, experts agreed that the scheme was not appropriately implemented.
- Now with Jalyukta Shivar no longer in existence, focused efforts of the past five years, in most likelihood, will go down the drain unless a similar scheme is introduced.
- With rainfall variations getting more pronounced, in addition to depleting groundwater reserves, the state will need concrete interventions to tackle future water requirements.