PM inaugurated the Rs. 12000 crore project SAUNI- Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation yojana project.
- SAUNI in local language means something for everyone, hence it will provide water to people of Saurashtra region.
- It is not part of Narmada project but is based on it.
- It aims to take water to water parched Saurashtra region to help in irrigation and providing drinking water facility.
- The project has been constructed to deliver the excess flood water from Sardar Sarovar dam to 115 dams of the water scarce region through network of canals and pipelines.
- This project was initiated in 2012. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2019.
This is an important project based on the new concept of pipeline network instead of open canal network. The dams store flood water and utilises that flood water for beneficial purpose. In this project, the excess water which otherwise would have gone to the sea will be diverted for irrigation and drinking purposes. A network of 1125 kms of pipelines will be present instead of open channels. The water through pipelines has many advantages-
- No seepage into ground
- No evaporation
- It can traverse adverse gradient
- There is no land acquisition as underground pipes are laid
Problems faced due to water scarcity
- The water scarcity is the great impediment in economic development of any region as there cannot be meaningful development without water.
- Saurashtra frequently faces draught like conditions.
- It has experienced migration over the years.
- People were dependent on one crop and that too was dependent on rain.
- There was paucity of drinking water and salinity issues as people had to bore deep to get water.
But now, because of the assured water supply through pipes, irrigation of two crops a year will be possible, people who had migrated will return and lack of drinking water issue will be solved. New irrigation techniques will be possible through assured drinking water.
The water will go through hundreds of kilometres to fill the dams and when it is completed, it is expected to irrigate 12 lakh hectares of arid Saurashtra region. Thus, the total irrigation potential is very huge.
Excess flood water is usually considered waste because there is a feeling that if excess of water is there, it should be allowed to reach the sea without creating much disturbance in its path. But, if a dam is put across and flood water is transferred to reservoirs, then these reservoirs become the storehouse of energy. Such dams are called multipurpose as they provide water for irrigation, drinking water, prevent flood problems etc.
It is an old problem of water scarcity in one region and flood in another. This project has interlinking concept and through dams it should be possible to take water from water surplus area to water deficit area through pipes.
However, the problems occurring in the transportation pipes like seepage or choking due to excessive silt etc. will be taken care of through manholes or any other cleaning mechanisms proposed.
Participatory decision making
Issues like water hold the importance of participatory decision making the most due to its conflicting nature. Water distribution and water use has to be managed necessarily with participatory approach.
Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) has been a component of Command Area Water Development programme implemented by ministry of water resources with help of Central Water Commission. It has been enacted by 16 states and more than 80000 of water users associations have been formed which are working to manage irrigation infrastructure, collecting water and distributing water among the beneficiary stakeholders
When projects like SAUNI will be implemented, people will be encouraged to engage into collective and efficient usage of water.
Water is a sensitive issue in India because the scarcity of water is being faced increasingly and per capita availability is going down. The pipes will help to curtail the losses and have optimum efficiency.