Mumbai: The Maharashtra cabinet on Tuesday decided to streamline water distribution as well as demand management, and supply water from new dams using closed pipelines, instead of the present system of using open canals.

The draft of the new water supply policy was approved at a meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai.

This close-conduit system will help reduce leakage, theft, evaporation and loss of water, ensuring more water is available for end users, such as farmers, in times of recurring water scarcity.

Water would henceforth be distributed from dams through pipelines instead of canals. The measure comes in the backdrop of an estimate that almost 50% water is lost while being distributed through canals.

Another benefit of the underground pipelines is that there won’t be any land acquisition cost involved, water resources minister Girish Mahajan said.

Earlier, project costs increased due to higher compensation for land owners, he said. The state government is turning to a pipeline-based network due to factors such as land acquisition, losses in the conventional system and problems in developing command areas, Mahajan said.