The Maharashtra government decided to build a network of pipelines to fetch water from dams, scrapping the existing open canal system.
Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan claimed that the pipeline system will not only save money but also stop water leakages and thefts.
“We will not build canals henceforth. Instead, we will lay down underground pipelines to give water to farms as well as cities for drinking purpose,” Mahajan said.
He claimed that need for land acquisition for irrigation projects will not arise after the system comes into existence. It will help cut down an irrigation projects cost by 30 to 35 per cent.
“At present 40 to 45 per cent water is either stolen or gets leaked. The closed pipelines will also save 20 to 25 per cent water from being evaporated,” Mahajan said.
He said that system is expected to be completed by 2019. The designing of the pipelines has been given to Maharashtra Engineering Research Institute.
Mahajan cited an example of water supply to Solapur city to underpin the need of closed pipeline instead of open canal.
Solapur needs two TMC drinking water every year but the government has to send 20 TMC from Ujani dam to fulfill the need as 18 TMC water is either lost or stolen in the 200 kms journey from dam to the city, he said.
“Whether the pipelines will be of iron or PVC will depend on the local situation and demand. This will increase irrigation potential as well,” he said.
“For instance, if the existing system is irrigating 1,000 hectares of land, the pipelines will irrigate 1,600 hectares of land,” he added.
Mahajan said that currently there exists 1 lakh kms of canals.
“We currently have 225 lakh hectares of potential irrigation land,” he said.