TN now lays claim to City sewage
Tamil Nadu has now picked a new water row with Karnataka. This time, the bone of contention is not sharing the Cauvery river waters, but sewage water generated in Bangalore.
The Karnataka government’s proposed Rs 42-crore lift irrigation project to utilise sewage water that flows through the Varthur valley (erstwhile Dakshina Pinakini river) to fill up dried up tanks on the outskirts of Bangalore city has been objected by Lok Sabha member from Krishnagiri E G Sugavanam, who raised the issue in Parliament during the budget session in March.
The MP has alleged that Karnataka planned to construct a check dam across the South Pennar river (Dakshina Pinakini river is called so in Tamil Nadu), which irrigates about 38,000 acres at Krishnagiri.
He has also claimed that the water is being used for drinking purpose there.
The entire district would become a desert if the dam is constructed, the MP claimed and sought the Centre’s intervention on the issue. The Central Ministry of Water Resources has, in a letter dated April 11, 2012, (a copy of which is available with Deccan Herald), asked the Karnataka government to offer its comments.
The minor irrigation (MI) department of Karnataka plans to fill about 29 lakes in near Chikkaballapur and Hoskote towns using sewage water at the Varthur valley, which starts at Yelahanka and passes through, Elemallappa Shetty tank, Varthur tank and Samethanahalli tank. If implemented, ground water table in the parched Chikkaballapur and Hoskote towns will increase, providing the much-needed relief to local residents.
There are also chances of ground water becoming fit for drinking as it happened with respect to a recent diversion project. The MI department project to divert sewage water from Elemallappa Shetty tank near K R Puram to Doddakere near Hoskote threw up a surprise result: the ground water was tested fit for drinking after the project was implemented. After the sewage water was filled to Doddakere, it percolated into the ground.
Later, when the ground water was tested, it was found fit for drinking Executive Engineer Krishna Murthy explained.
He said the Dakshina Pinakini river dried up about three decades ago and only sewage water generated in Bangalore was flowing in the valley. Moreover, the valley does not come under the Cauvery river basin for Tamil Nadu to take up any objection. The Varthur valley enters Tamil Nadu through Hosur. An estimated 3.5 tmc ft of water (sewage) from Karnataka flows in the valley every year.
Sewage water at the valley is unfit for even agriculture use in Karnataka. But Iit becomes fit for agriculture use in TN as it undergoes natural purification. Karnataka can make the sewage water useful if it implements lift irrigation projects and diversion schemes.
When contacted, MI department Secretary P N Sreenivasachary said Chikkaballapur and Hoskote were badly affected by drought. Water table has depleted to over 1,000 ft and ground water has high fluoride content. The lift irrigation project would bring a much-needed relief to the affected people. Moreover, the Karnataka government was not constructing a check dam as alleged, he added.
Tamil Nadu’s contention
* Stop the proposed construction of check dam across South Pennar river (Varthur valley, which was once called Dakshina Pinakini river).
* The river water (which is actually sewage water) is used for drinking, agriculture and industrial purpose in Krishnagiri district.
* It is only source of water to Krishnagiri.
* It is a lift irrigation project and not a check dam project.
* Dakshina Pinakini river no longer exists and only sewage water flows.
* Varthur vallery does not come under the Cauvery basin.
* The proposed project will help increase ground water table in Chikkaballapur and Hoskote.