Water crisis reaches tipping point as dam levels dip

Water crisis reaches tipping point as dam levels dip

23 tmc ft less water in Almatti than last year; demand water release from Koyna

Water in the major reservoirs of the Krishna river - Almatti, Narayanpur and Hipparagi - are dipping to alarming levels causing concern among the people, who are now hoping that water will be released from Koyna dam in Maharashtra.

The crisis comes close on the heels of the dipping levels in the reservoirs of the Cauvery basin.The Almatti reservoir has 23 tmc ft less water than the corresponding period last year. The Krishna river flows through a length of 483 km in the State and the parched river basin is creating panic among the people. People living on the banks of the river as also the villages, towns and cities in its course face a grave drinking water crisis.

“With rainfall not being on expected lines this year, there is a decrease in water inflow into the river. This is the worst summer in the last 40 years,” say people in the river basin. 

“There used to be inflow of water into the Almatti reservoir every year till November. But this time, the inflow stopped in October itself,” the people said. 

There are allegations that more water was used from the reservoir to produce electricity and the reservoir level fell due to inefficient water management. 

“The water level in the Almatti reservoir is presently 22.737 tmc ft (508.31 metre), while the level in the corresponding period last year was 45.691 tmc ft (512.74 metre). The deficit is 23 tmc ft,” said Poddar, superintending engineer of the Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigama Limited (KBJNL). Poddar says that of the total water storage, only 17 tmc ft can be utilised. With water evaporating in summer, there is likely to be a problem, he said.

“The dead storage in the reservoir has been fixed at 504 metres. It will be difficult to supply drinking water to the towns and cities dependent on the reservoir, with water at this level. We have appealed to the KBJNL officials to maintain the dead storage level at 506.5 metres,” said Prasanna Murthy, executive engineer of the water board.

People’s representatives in the region feel that paying money for getting water released from Koyna dam is the only solution. The release of five to six tmc ft of water at a time, after disconnecting power supply on the river banks, can help reach the water to the Hipparagi and Almatti reservoirs. They feel that the move was inevitable to solve the drinking water problem. 

Deputy Commissioner Shivayogi Kalasad said they had appealed to the government to take steps to get water released from Koyna to overcome the drinking water crisis.