Water level in the Hemavathy reservoir has dipped to its lowest point for the first in a decade.
The reservoir not only provides drinking water to residents of Hassan City, but for irrigating thousands of acres of agricultural land. This year, the reservoir faced an added pressure of supplying water to Bangalore. Recently, following Supreme Court ruling to release water to Tamil Nadu, water was released overnight from the reservoir. Owing to these factors, water level has dipped to its lowest.
Many farmers had to incur crop loss as water did not flow in the canals connected to the reservoir on time.
To satisfy the water demands of Hassan City, which has a population of 1.4 lakh, 2.5 MGD of water is pumped from the reservoir on a daily basis. But, the water is available to less than 50 per cent of the population. The remaining people depend on borewell water.
Parts of Hassan connected to water supply from the reservoir, receive water once every three to four days.
Owing to the drought situation, the reservoir was not filled to its capacity in 2012. But, water scarcity at Hemavathy aggravated after water was released to Tamil Nadu and recently to satisfy water demands of Bangalore. At Hemavathi, as of Thursday, there was 2.9 tmcft of water. Dead storage capacity of the reservoir is 4.372 tmcft.
“To solve the drinking water crisis of Bangalore, about one tmcft of water was released from Hemavathi, since April 14. But once the capacity sinks to 1.6 tmcft, water cannot be released. This 1.6 tmcft of water can meet the water demands of the city for three months,” said Executive Engineer Venkataramanappa. Also, release of water from Hemavathy to KRS was stopped on Wednesday, with the latter receiving an inflow of a mere 175 cusecs on Thursday. Due to rainfall in parts of the district recently, inflow at the reservoir had increased slightly for a day. If rains fail for the third year in a row, people of Hassan City will be staring at an imminent crisis.