With KRS water receding, city staring at water scarcity

Water level is decreasing, as there is no rain, at KRS dam, in Mandya District. Photo/ B H Shivakumar, in Mandya District. DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar

An inconsistent southwest monsoon over Karnataka, especially at the Cauvery catchment area, have left officials of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) fingers crossed.

Following poor inflow and fast plummeting water levels at the KRS dam, officials say they could only meet the city’s water needs with the present water storage until September, provided the government do not release water into the canals for irrigation. 

The Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS) reservoir that quenches Bengaluru’s thirst, at the moment has only 9.34 TMC of water as against 30.12 TMC of water it had in 2018. Even though the recent few spells of rain brought in three TMC of water, it would only be a drop in the ocean considering even Mysuru and Mandya along with a host of other villages are dependent on the KRS reservoir for potable water. 

“The present storage will last till the last week of August provided the government do not release water to canals for agriculture and to Tamil Nadu. If the catchment do not receive any rainfall by the end of this month, it will be tough days ahead for the city,” BWSSB’s chief engineer (maintenance) B C Gangadhar told DH.

As compared to the previous year, water storage is very low at various dams that feed the KRS reservoir. On a daily basis, the BWSSB supplies about 145 crore litres of water across Bengaluru to 9.75 lakh water connections. With water levels drastically receding in all the reservoirs of the Cauvery basin, Bengaluru is more likely staring at severe drinking water shortage.

“We are mainly dependent on Cauvery for drinking water supply. However, if the monsoon fails and the water inflow is not to the expected level, how do we provide water? I have got reports that the dam received three tmc extra water. We hope to get good amount of rain by this month,” Gangadhar added.

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