Decline in water level at Almatti indicates difficult summer ahead
The storage capacity at Almatti reservoir stood at 53.27 tmc ft on Saturday — two tmc ft lower than last year, ringing a warning to farmers and residents of Bijapur and Bagalkot that they may face hard times ahead, as the levels presage a severe water crisis this coming summer.
The full reservoir level of Almatti is 519.6 ft, with a storage capacity of 123 tmc ft. On Saturday, the level was 513.42 ft. After deducting dead storage of 17.62 tmcft, what is available for use (live storage) is a mere 35.65 tmc ft. At present, 7,852 cusecs of water is being released, said officers with Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited (KBJNL).
The officers noted that in the past few years the period of inflow to the reservoir has been low. Since October 19, 2012, the inflow has stopped.
On the grim situation, farmers’ leader Dr K H Mumba Reddy explained that it is important to excercise effective water management. “The Management of water release for irrigation purpose is crucial. The situation being thus, more water is being released from the reservoir to Jindal and other industries,” he said.
If the water level continues to fall, the twin districts of Bijapur and Bagalkot may well face an acute shortage of drinking water.
“Moreover, industries should store water during floods and during summer. Water in the reservoir should be used for irrigation and drinking water purposes,” he explained.
Water from Narayanapura reservoir can be used for irrigation only when water is stored upto 419.25 ft. Thus, water is being released to the reservoir on a priority basis now.
“The release of water to canals will be stopped from February 20,” said V V Shiri, executive engineer, Almatti Reservoir Division.