Government looking at small reservoir at Mekedatu

Government looking at small reservoir at Mekedatu

The State government, which had recently announced its decision to go ahead with the Mekedatu drinking water project, is now contemplating whether to go for a series of reservoirs, instead of one, to minimise submergence of forest land.

The government had initially proposed to construct a reservoir with a capacity of 50 tmc ft at Mekedatu to provide drinking water to Bengaluru and surrounding places.

Now, apparently apprehensive that the project may face environmental clearance hurdles, as it involves submergence of 2,500 acres of forest land, the government is looking at alternatives.

“We are thinking of having a small reservoir at Mekedatu and pumping water to new balancing reservoirs nearby or existing reservoirs like Hesaraghatta and Kanva. This way, the total extent of submergence of forest land will be reduced considerably,” Water Resources Minister M B Patil told reporters in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Patil said a final decision on the nature of the project would be taken after the shortlisted consultant submitted a detailed project report. Global tenders have been already called for shortlisting the consultant, he said.

Drip irrigation mandatory

Patil said the government would make its proposed mega drip irrigation scheme mandatory for all sugar cane farmers, covering 4.5 lakh hectares across the State.

“The Maharashtra  government has made it mandatory for sugar cane growers to use drip irrigation system. We too will bring in suitable amendments,” he said.

He said the government was planning to launch the scheme in January next year. Installing drip irrigation system would cost Rs 40,000 per acre, Patil said. The government was ready to provide Rs 10,000 as subsidy amount, he added.

Sugar cane factory owners have agreed to chip in with Rs 5,000. Farmers can avail themselves of the balance Rs 25,000 through bank loans and sugar cane factory owners have agreed to provide guarantee for them, Patil said.

The project, proposed to be implemented in three years, will lead to saving of water to the tune of 186 tmc ft, saving power to the extent of Rs 450 crore and additional income due to increase in sugar cane yield to the tune of Rs 7,200 crore per annum.

The government is considering extending the drip irrigation scheme to paddy in the next phase, he said.

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