The Maharashtra government on Saturday launched an ambitious water supply scheme in Osmanabad district — one of the worst affected areas in drought-ravaged Marathwada.

Inaugurated by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the project envisages transporting water from the Ujani dam on the Bhima to Osmanabad over a distance of 114 km.

The scheme, estimated to cost Rs. 182 crore, is funded by the Central Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns.

Marathwada has been facing a water crisis — barely 7 per cent of water of the total capacity from all major, medium and small dams put together remains. Of the 803 projects, with a total capacity of 7,573 million cubic metres, all that remained was 510 mcm.

More than 2,000 villages in the region are entirely dependent on tankers for supply of potable water.