Diverting west flowing water not viable

Diverting west flowing water not viable

West-flowing rivers constitute a major portion of the yield – nearly 2,000 tmc annually which works out to be 58 pc of the total yield. Due to the narrow coastal belt, a major portion of the water goes utilized into the sea.

However, it is not technically viable, nor financially feasible to harness the water due to environment constraints and the presence of Western Ghats barrier due to high altitude. Hence an effort has been made to divert only a meager percentage of 0.54 tmc of water from the upper reaches of Western Ghats near the plateau, the feasibly report says.

The intensity of rainfall in the Ghats is very high and it is in the range of above 6,500 mm at higher altitudes. It is also a home to thousands of animal species including at least 325 globally endangered species. Developmental projects in the coast including Sharavathi, Kali and Varahi projects have not resulted in any ecological imbalance in the region, the report says.

The other view  

The Water Resources Department insists that the government has no plans to divert any of the West flowing rivers including Netravati to East. But environmentalists of the coastal districts say there is no merit in the argument as the government is contemplating diverting Yettinahole water. Many citizens’ groups, politicians, the scientific community as well as politicians have raised serious objections to the proposal.

For example, Prof S G Mayya, Chairman, Civil Engineering department, National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Suratkal says Yettinahole and Kumaradharathat are Netravati’s major tributaries. Diverting Yettinahole is as good as diverting Netravati.

“Netravati’s origin is Yettinahole. Later Kumaradhara joins. There is severe water shortage for eight months in many parts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. Netravati is the lifeline of these districts. I do not see any merit in the inter-basin water transfer scheme.
When the river water is going to Arabian Sea, why not be made use of it? For this, Mayya says such arguments doesn’t make any sense because when the coast is parched for eight months in a year, the government must be providing water to the downstream rather than planning to divert water.

“River water has to flow to sea. Why are we forgetting aquatic life? Fishermen will be in trouble if the inflow to sea reduces. The G S Paramashivaiah committee too had recommended diversion of rivers. I had raised many pertinent questions for which Paramashivaiah had no answer. Of course, technically there is nothing impossible. No doubt, Kolar and other districts have severe water shortage problem. But the situation in the coast is no better.”

“Netravati River Diversion Project cannot be sustained. Desilting, scientific maintenance and rejuvenation of tanks alone can resolve water crisis in Kolar and other arid districts in the State.”

- M V Narasimha Rao
Executive Director, Grama Vikas

“The State government instead of planning to divert water should focus
on providing water to the downstream. As the situation in the coastal areas in the State is no better.”

-Prof S G Mayya
Chairman National
Institute of Technology, Karnataka

“I assure people that I will not take up any project that will harm the Wester Ghats or environment as such. The government will only consider projects which are good for the people”

- Basavaraj Bommai,
Water Resources Minister

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