'Dip in groundwater, eucalyptus dried up Arkavathy'

Scientists and researchers in the field of water conservation stressed on the need for unification of government bodies dealing with ground and surface water.

At a workshop conducted by research institute Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), findings of a four-year project by the institute which aimed to determine the reasons for the drying up of the Arkavathy basin, were discussed. 

Arkavathy river originates at Nandi Hills and was once the source of water for Bengaluru when the Thippagondanahalli reservoir was constructed on it in 1935.

“It is widely believed that the Arkavathy basin dried up because of climate change and check dams built in the stream channel. Our study has shown that actually, it is the over-extraction of ground water by farmers and large-scale cultivation of water-intensive eucalyptus trees which has resulted in the present situation,” said Dr Sharachchandra Lele, who headed the project.

T Pradeep from Samuha, an NGO which works for water conservation and management, suggested that the concept of budgeting water should be introduced at the panchayat level so that people understand the harm of over-extracting.

Pradeep Mujumdar, professor at IISc, said it was necessary to identify which crops can be grown in which parts of the state based on the water availability to ensure that water-intensive crops are not cultivated in areas with scarcity of water.

Dr P Somasekhar Rao, director of Karnataka’s Advanced Centre for Integrated Water Resources Management said Bengaluru is irresponsible with the Cauvery water and does not recycle any of its sewage.

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