The Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) to constantly monitor water level in all the dams of the state to ensure enough water is available for drinking in the drought-hit state.
The order was passed on a bunch of petitions urging adequate supply of water in drought-hit areas due to scarcity prevailing in various parts of the state.
The court was informed that the terms of many members of MWRRA had expired and hence the body was not functioning.
Hearing this, a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi ordered the Maharashtra government to appoint a new water regulatory authority within a week so that it can monitor the water level of the dams periodically.
If, for any reason, the state government was not in a position to constitute a new water regulatory body, then it should extend the term of old members which had expired, to enable MWRRA to function immediately, said the bench.
The court also asked the water regulatory authority to ensure that it accords priority to supply of drinking water to the people.
When the petitioners told the court that certain private entities were holding water, the bench observed that, “Natural resources such as water are the property of the nation as a whole and do not belong to any individual…these resources must not be diverted for other purpose.”
The court directed the Commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure that water supplied to slaughter houses is rationalised so that enough water is available for drinking.
The bench further directed the Collectors in all the districts of Maharashtra to ensure that water reserved for drinking is not directed for other activities in view of the severe drought situation in the state.
The court also asked the government to ensure that a special ward is created in all the district hospitals for treatment of people hit by heat strokes.