AHMEDABAD: Nearly 4.5 lakh tribal people from 174 villages and 1,028 hamlets in the hills of Valsad in Gujarat are set to get tap water facility when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the Astol project during his visit to his home state on June 10.
PM Modi will inaugurate the project, among many others, during his one-day visit to Gujarat.
“It was a challenging task to complete the Astol project in Kaprada and Dharampur talukas of Valsad district, but I am glad our engineers overcame all the hurdles. It’s a technological marvel from an engineering perspective as well. Through this project, we have ensured the availability of water in these hilly areas by taking water to the height of about 1,875 ft (as high as a 200-storey building),” Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel said on Wednesday.
What is the Astol project?
Water from the Madhuban dam (gross water holding capacity at 567 million cubic metres) will be drawn through pumping stations using lift technique to reach people’s homes. Under this project, 28 pumping stations, with a capacity of 8-megawatt volt ampere (MVA), have been set up to aid the supply of around 75 million litres of drinking water daily to 4.5 lakh people.
To bring water to big and small settlements, 81 kms of pumping lines, 855 kms of distribution lines and 340 kms of pipelines were laid. Two filter plants (each with a capacity of 33 million litres of water per day) have been set up to make pure drinking water available, with a total capacity of 66 million litres of water per day.
To store water in these areas, six high tanks (4.7 million litres capacity), 28 underground tanks (7.7 crore litres capacity) and 1,202 tanks (44 million litres capacity) at the ground level in villages and habitations have been constructed.
A special technology has also been used in laying the pipeline, installed according to the topography, with some areas at a higher elevation and others at low elevations. As a result, the flow of water in certain areas is steady but very high (40 per kg cm square) in others. But the pressure caused due to this is high enough to cause significant damage to pipelines. To resolve this issue, a 12-mm thick mild steel pipe is used inside the main pipe to avoid any kind of blast.
“The Astol project is nothing short of an engineering marvel as water from the Madhuban dam will be pumped up to reach 50 villages in Dharampur and 124 villages in Kaprada. This will be the first time that the Madhuban dam’s water will be used for drinking purposes as earlier it was only used for irrigation,” the Gujarat government said in an official statement.
Why is the Astol project important for Gujarat?
The topography of the tribal areas Dharampur and Kaprada is such that neither the retention of rainwater is possible, nor can groundwater be stored. The reason is that most of the land here is rocky, causing rapid run-off of rainwater. As a result, only reservoirs are filled during the rainy season. Many springs and streams dry up during summers. In 2018, the state government initiated the Astol Project at a cost of ₹586.16 crore, with an aim to ensure potable water supply to the people living in these regions.