Mumbai: Environmental action group Greenpeace on Monday warned that more power plants commissioned in the state would reduce water available for irrigation in Vidarbha, escalating the agrarian distress in the region.
Talking to reporters after the group released a scientific study on water availability of the Wardha and Wainganga rivers and the impact of thermal power plants on the rivers, Greenpeace campaigner Jai Krishna, said that as of 2010, over 55,000 MW of coal-based power plants are proposed in Vidarbha.
A study conducted by IIT Delhi has said that additional demand imposed by the large cluster of thermal power plants in Vidarbha will reduce the future water availability for irrigation and other uses in the region by as much as 40 per cent in Wardha and about 17 percent in Wainganga.’
Information received from the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation also states that the fresh water requirement of these power plants is about 2,050 million cubic metres or about 72 TMC ft, he said.
The study has also deduced that almost 1,700 MCM that is being proposed to be taken from the Wardha and Wainganga river basins would otherwise have irrigated about 3,40,000 hectares of farmland.
Vidarbha has long been classified as an underdeveloped region with a historical backlog of development across many sectors like irrigation, infrastructure and electrification, irrigation being the least developed of all, he said.