Dipping KRS water level has farmers worried

Dipping KRS water level has farmers worried

The depleting water level in Krishnaraja Sagar Reservoir (KRS) in the district has been giving sleepless nights to farmers of the region, who are facing the challenge of protecting their standing crops.

With only 18 tmc of water to spare for irrigation, they are in confusion whether the government and the Cauvery Consultative Committee will take a decision in their favour and release water to the canals to save their crops.

Despite several memorandums submitted to the government, urging to release water up to March-end, there is no response from either the government or the Committee, so far.

The Cauvery Consultative Committee in its meeting had decided to release water to the crops till December end. As per the directive, the officials of Water Resources department have been releasing water on rotation basis.

Current status

Due to insufficient rains, the KRS dam did not reach its maximum level of 124.80 ft this year. The water level as on January 13 is 104 ft (storage 26.3 tmc ft). Apart from saving water for drinking water purposes and dead storage capacity, only 18.40 tmc ft is available for irrigation purposes.

According to experts, water can be released to the canals only for 35 days. As it will be insufficient for paddy crops, releasing water for summer crops is impossible. Though the officials confirm the status, they said the final decision has to be taken by the Consultative Committee.

Sankranti

In view of Sankranti festival, water is being released into the canals for the past three days. But, it is said that the farmers have been wasting the water and some are even making preparations to sow summer crops. As per sources, paddy has been sown in about 300 hectares and sugarcane in 27,000 hectares.The farmers’ organisations have been demanding release of water from the dam till March end to protect sugarcane, coconut, banana crops, but the government has not responded.

Comparison

The current water level at KRS dam is 104 ft, while it was 117.40 ft, on the same day last year. While the capacity is 26.3 tmc of water, last year it was 40.10 ft. The government had declared seven taluks in the district as drought-hit. The farmers have demanded that the government explain its stand and take a decision on releasing water to the canals soon.

Farmers’ leader Shambunahalli Suresh said the government should take steps to release water up to March-end for the benefit of farmers.

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