Fresh farm crisis seems to be brewing in Gujarat over water supply to agriculture in the beginning of summer.

In a latest announcement, the State government stated no water from the multi-purpose irrigation scheme, Sardar Sarovar Dam, will be provided to farmers from March 15, 2018 onward citing low reservoir levels.

In a statement issued on Friday, the State government — citing a circular by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) — informed that water storage in the dams under the Narmada command area has dropped by 45 per cent — the lowest in 15 years due to less rainfall witnessed in Madhya Pradesh in last monsoon.

The State government has appealed to the farmers to skip sowing of the summer crops unless they have alternate sources of irrigation such as bore-wells as water from Narmada will have to be saved for drinking purposes. Gujarat has about 1.5 million hectares under summer cultivation growing summer crops such as sesame, millets, pulses — lentils, groundnut and paddy.

To this, the farmer leaders have raised objection alleging the government of favouring industries at the cost of agriculture. Gujarat Khedut Samaj termed it an unfortunate decision that will affect thousands of farmers having no other means of irrigation at the beginning of summer season.

The Narmada Control Authority, in its meeting held on January 10 in New Delhi, had decided to curtail water supplies to the beneficiary States of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

“As a result, Gujarat will get 4.71 million acre feet water from the scheme as against the planned 9 million acre feet. This necessitated curtailment in the Narmada water supplies and store it for drinking purpose,” the Gujarat government statement said quoting SSNNL.