GANDHINAGAR: At least 500 villages of North Gujarat’s Mehsana and Patan districts, where high content of fluoride in groundwater has posed health hazards, will get respite once Narmada waters were released in Saraswati, Rupen, Pushpavati, Khari and Banas rivers in next monsoon.
The release is a part of Narmada Water Grid being created by the department to harness the 15,000 cusecs of water over flowing from Narmada dam through Irrigation Bypass Tunnel (IBPT) during four months of monsoon. The grid will also help ensure effective utilisation of water through scientific water management.
In the first phase of release of 9,000 cusecs of water released from the main canal, the Narmada water started flowing in Mahi, Hiran, Sabarmati, Shedhi, Watrak, Meshwo and Khari.
Reliable sources said on Friday that the water crisis of North Gujarat region will be totally solved as all the rivers and dams in Mehsana, Patan and Banaskantha which have dried up due to failure of monsoon for past three years will be filled with Narmada waters.
And the groundwater level will get recharged, controlling the fluoride contents from a high of 2.3 per cent to around 1.5 per cent which will reduce the high incidence of fluorosis in the region.
At present, more than 500 out of 1,070 villages of these districts have been affected by this problem caused due to increased contents of fluoride in water caused due to increasing salinity ingress in the region.
A six-page note on the proposed Narmada Water Grid stated that the irrigation department would construct checkdams and small dams for storage of water released during monsoon from the canal.
Accordingly, small dams will be constructed at Rupen, Saraswati, Banas, Pushpavati and Khari where special escapes and outlets have been created in advance to supply the water from the main canal. The water stored in these rivers will be utilised for drinking and agriculture.
Eight major irrigation dams including Sipu, Dharoi, Mukteshvar and Dantiwada are almost empty since monsoon failed for the third consecutive year. With the release of Narmada waters in these dams and rivers next year more than two lakh hectares of land will be irrigated. As a result, the agro-based economy of North Gujarat can expect a transformation.