The multi-purpose interstate Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) on Narmada River has proved to be a boon to the water-starved north Gujarat region too, thanks to the Sujalam Sufalam Yojna built under the guidance of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Nearly 1,200 cusec of surplus rainwater, overflowing the SSP and Kadana dams, is now being released to the 310-km long Sujalam Safalam Spreading Canal, which serves the Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Sabarkantha and Patan districts. These districts are situated at a higher elevation than the Narmada Main Canal Command Area.
Similar efforts to divert the surplus rainwater from Narmada Main Canal (NMC) and other dams in the region have helped release total 18,600 cusec of water to recharge the seasonal smaller Heran, Karad, Kun, Sabarmati, Rupen and Banas rivers.
While Sujalam Safalam Yojna has filled up 36 lakes and the NMC-based nine lift irrigation schemes another 174 lakes, totaling 210 lakes, besides filling up innumerous khet talavdis (farm ponds) and recharging underground water table in the region. It has been made possible only because of pre-monsoon preparedness by the State Irrigation Department, in absence of which these
Interlinking of rivers in north Gujarat region has thus redefined the concept of management of surplus rainwater, which would have gone down the rivers into the sea.
The irrigation department had earlier recharged Saraswati River near Sidhpur with the help of Khorsam-Saraswati lift irrigation scheme, as well as canal escape route.
The Dharoi dam on the Sabarmati has so far stored 344 mcm of water as against its capacity of 813 mcm.