Bhubaneswar: Having learnt a lesson from the ongoing Mahanadi water dispute with neighbouring Chhattisgarh, the state government plans to construct in-stream storage structures (barrages) on major river basins like Mahanadi, Rushikulya, Brahmani and Baitarani.
The government plans to construct at least 40 such in-stream storage structures on the river basins with an investment of `11,713.22 crore in six years starting from 2019-20, official sources in the Water Resources department said.
With the rapid pace of development being witnessed by Odisha in the last one decade, increased urbanisation, rising income levels and commitment by the state to provide clean and piped drinking water facilities to all its citizens, there is an increase in demand of water.
Endowed with numerous rivers and abundant rainfall, Odisha does not have to worry about availability of water during the period July-February. However, despite such abundance of water, during the peak summer months ranging from March to June, several parts of the state often face acute shortages of water, said the source.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to conserve the runoff water to meet the non-monsoon requirements. Construction of a number of in-stream storage structures and creation of water bodies along the rivers will help in recharging the ground water and partially stop flooding by delaying the medium sizes flood peaks.
These structures will create large water bodies within the river embankment in the upstream without displacing people, they said.
With the construction of such storages, the seasonal variation of the ground water level will be minimised and a minimum level will be maintained throughout the year creating additional irrigation potential. Besides, these storages can also be utilised for supplying drinking water to the nearby residential areas, for fishery development and livestock farming, meet the industrial water demands and fulfill recreational purposes. The small barrages can also help in controlling moderate floods and drought situations.
The Water Resources department has submitted a detailed proposal in this regard to the Finance and other departments for approval, the source said. The projects are expected to complete by March 2025. The government has planned to spent Rs 500 crore during the current financial year, while `2,326 crore will be provisioned next year (2020-21), `2,912.19 crore in 2021-22, `2,353 crore for 2022-23, `2,248 crore in 2223-24 and `1373 crore during the 2024-25 fiscal.