Heatwave roasts N K'taka; Kalaburagi worst hit

Heatwave roasts N K'taka; Kalaburagi worst hit

Heatwave roasts N K'taka; Kalaburagi worst hit

Eleven districts in the north-interior Karnataka are in the grip of heatwave with Kalaburagi topping the list as three of its taluks recorded 44 degrees Celsius on Friday.

Heatwave condition prevailing in Telangana, Rayalseema, Vidarbha and Marathwada regions is affecting the bordering districts of Karnataka. While Kalaburagi has suffered the worst, the condition is almost similar in Yadgir, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal and Ballari which are adjacent to the Telangana region.

On Saturday, pockets of Belagavi, Bagalkot and Vijayapura districts, under the influence of central Maharashtra region, experienced heatwave.

On Friday, mercury touched 44 degrees Celsius in three taluks of Kalaburagi — Chittapur, Aland and Kalaburagi — according to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNMDC). The temperature is recorded in eight weather stations in the district. Heatwave is prevailing from the last three days and it is all set to continue for the next two to three days. The state government is yet to declare heatwave condition.

Heatwave is declared when temperature rises above 40 degree Celsius by four to six degrees in a couple of locations in a district, and continues for some days. For heatwave-affected places, the government would have to offer more financial help, medical help and provide drinking water.
Of the 30 districts in Karnataka, 26 have recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in the recent days. Only four districts — Kodagu, Udupi, Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural — have not crossed 40 degrees Celsius.

Scientists at KSNMDC said there is no respite for the north-interior Karnataka till at least April-end. There have been isolated rains in Dakshina Kannada, Hassan and Chikkmagaluru. But these scanty rains have not been able to bring down the temperature level. No widespread rains are expected in any district, including those in the Malnad region, in next few days, the sources said.

KSNMDC Director G S Srinivas Reddy, who has accompanied Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in his tour of the drought-hit districts, said: “Kalaburagi is really facing a tough time. Providing drinking water and fodder has become the priority of the district authorities. Water is supplied in tankers to some villages,” he said.

About 853 parched villages in 19 districts have been supplied water in tanks for drinking purpose. In Vijayapura alone, as many as 217 villages are getting water from tankers. Uttara Kannada district comes next with 178 villages getting water from tankers. These are followed by Kalaburagi (113 villages), Belagavi (93 villages), Udupi (24 villages) and Dakshina Kannada (9 villages). District authorities mainly purchase water from private borewell owners and there is no uniform price for this. In all, 2,071 villages may require drinking water through tankers during April, May and June, according to the Revenue Department. Interestingly, the perennially drought-affected districts — Kolar and Chikkaballapur — are not facing much problem this year as majority of the tanks are full.
The districts received good rains in September and October. While last year, 300 villages in Kolar had to depend on tankers for water, this time it is about 39 villages.

Low water level in major reservoirs has become a worrying factor for the government. Against the total capacity of 906 tmc of 13 major reservoirs, there is only 132 tmc ft. This also means the availability in the reservoirs is just 14.5% against the total capacity. Last year, the gross storage was 178 tmc ft.

To avoid severe drinking water shortage, the government has taken precautions to limit the usage of water mainly for drinking.

This is the fourth consecutive year the state is facing hydrological drought.
DH News Service

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