Drought, threat of less rain: Cloud seeding to help tackle water crisis

Faced with delayed onset of monsoon, severe drought and water scarcity, the state government has decided to conduct cloud seeding at Vidharbha and Marathwada, where little or no rainfall is expected this year. The state cabinet approved the proposal of appointing an expert firm to conduct the exercise.

“The state government has decided to conduct cloud seeding to deal with rainfall deficiency this year. It will be conducted in the areas of Vidarbha and Marathwada where there are clouds but no rain. It will be done at catchment areas of the dams and reservoirs such as Jayakwadi in Aurangabad, Ujni in Solapur etc. so that the rainwater can be stored,” said relief and rehabilitation secretary Kishorraje Nimbalkar.

Jayakwadi is the biggest water reservoir in Marathwada and has zero water stock at present. There is only 2.86% water left in the reservoirs of Marathwada. Last monsoon, the state received only 77% of the average rainfall.

State revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said ₹30 crore has been allocated for cloud seeding and global companies with expertise will be invited to make their bids. Cloud seeding was last carried out in the state in August 2015. “As per our records, the project was successful as we had received up to 40mm rainfall in areas like Aurangabad,” Nimbalkar said.

In a first, the state government also widened the scope of cattle camps beyond cows and buffaloes to include sheep and goats. A daily assistance of ₹25 per day per animal will be granted. The state also provides water to cattle camps for free. So far, 1,501 cattle camps have been set up in Marathwada, western and north Maharashtra. “The cattle camp operators are finding it difficult to arrange for water for the cattle in the wake of dried water sources … We have decided to provide the water through our water supply mechanism. The decision has also been taken to ensure timely release of the funds to the camp operators,” said Patil.

First Published:
May 29, 2019 01:45 IST

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