The Kantai weir was inaugurated by the deputy CM of Maharashtra, Mr. Ajit Pawar and Minister for Irrigation, Mr. Sunil Tatkare. This weir has the capacity of 179.2 crore litres. Funding for this project came from Jain Irrigation’s internal accruals amounting to 8 crores. As per the state government of Maharashtra’s directives we are entitled to use only 50% of water and 50% of water will be used by the society. This weir will ensure sustainable and assured supply of water for Jain Irrigation as 50% of water will be used for Food processing (fruit and onion dehydration), mainly because we require water during peak summer when there is shortage of water due to drought. The situation worsens during low rainfall seasons. When the mango season starts in peak summer, once again water availability becomes an issue, however, drinking water gets priority and quite rightly so, as this is a drought prone area. Therefore, this big storage structure is not only sufficient for us but also for the needs of the society around us. It goes without saying that serving the ecosystem was an important motive. This weir will also help to reduce the off seasonal water availability and further help to reduce the flash or sudden floods in the downstream area up to a certain extent.
This catchment area is in the basin of Girna River covering around 9000 sq.km. The spread of the water is 5.6 Km from the weir i.e., backwaters will also support fisheries. This region has high temperature and moderate rain fall of 700mm annually, with frequent occurrence of drought as mentioned earlier. Therefore, this storage structure will be beneficial for surrounding 7–8 villages with populations ranging from 15–16 thousand. It suits our interests as we are an agriculture based company and headquartered in Jalgoan about 10 km from the weir. We are not aware, as to why other companies didn’t venture into these areas as we have done. Perhaps, the reason could be that they are getting water supply from MIDC industrial belts in the cities of Pune, Nasik, and Aurangabad etc.
The construction of the weir posed a big challenge to us, as we had to complete it before the monsoon started, and we had only 9 months in hand. If we lost this chance we would have to wait for another 4 months, which would mean we would be devoid of water for one year. Likewise, though we as a company had no big experience of constructing such a big weir, we plunged into it wholeheartedly, as this was a step towards the big dreams we nurtured for the company. Though we are an irrigation systems company and this was an entirely new area for us; involving aspects of structural engineering, our team rose to the occasion and came up with the required integrated solutions.