Making the most of an adverse situation, the Gujarat government has managed to store about four lakh million cubic foot (mcft) of flood water in 191 reservoirs in the state.
Besides, the farmers have built 1.5 lakh farm ponds (khet talwadis) for conservation of flood water in which 108 mcft water has been stored. Also, the 46,983 check dams have been filled to the brim.
These measures will ensure that Gujarat will not suffer from want of irrigation water for the current kharif crops including the all-important groundnut crops in the Saurashtra region, and the forthcoming rabi crops, mainly wheat, gram and rapeseed mustard.
The 5,800 check dams in South Gujarat have stored 2,789 mcft of water, while in the seven districts of the Saurashtra region, 13,559 mcft of water has been stored in 24,530 check dams. Even in the normally arid Kutch district, 825 mcft of water has been stored in 1582 check dams. This will spare the people of Kutch from shortage of drinking and irrigation water this year.
In north Gujarat, another water-short region, 8,726 check dams have been filled to the brim with 3,035 mcft water being stored in them. In central Gujarat too, 2,527 mcft water has been stored in the check dams.
According to Shri I.K. Jadeja and Shri Saurabhbhai Patel, ministers in the Narendra Modi government, the campaign to deepen village ponds as part of water conservation in the state has been a success with water being stored in 45,000 ponds. As a result, the water level in the wells surrounding these ponds have come up substantially.
It may be recalled that Gujarat suffered floods during the month of August with most dams releasing huge volumes of waters, which saw even the normally dry Sabarmati came in spate and large areas of central Gujarat having been flooded by the Mahi, Sabarmati and other rivers. But the conscious decision of the Gujarat government to store as much of the flood water as feasible has raised the level of ground water in all the four regions of the state?south and north Gujarat Saurashtra and Kutch?considerably, thanks to the water conservation measures adopted by the state government.