Only 13.2% sowing in Mandya, this season

Only 13.2% sowing in Mandya, this season

Water problem continues to haunt farmers

Only 13.2% sowing in Mandya, this season

With no firm decision on release of water into canals from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir, the farmers are still under confusion in the district.

The legislators from Mandya district explained about the grave situation to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during Cauvery Irrigation Consultative Committee (ICC) meeting in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

However, the ICC has decided to maintain status quo, that is to continue releasing water to canals upto August 30 and a decision would be taken later.

The farmers were happy when they were told that the river water would be released on rotation basis (water for 20 days in a month). When a timetable was announced up to December end, the farmers made brisk preparations for sowing paddy and have completed sowing on 3,371 hectare, so far. The land has been tilled, ready for sowing, on more than 5,000 hectare. The sowing percentage of the district stands at 13.2% as on August 17.

Now, with the rain having played traunt, the farmers are not sure whether water will be available for their crops. Paddy and sugarcane are the major crops of the district, which is grown on 78% of farm land.

It may be recalled that with no sufficient water in the KRS dam, last year, there was no water for post-monsoon crops. This year too the chances of water release for post-monsoon crops are bleak. So, if water is not released for crops now, it means there will be no three crops in a row, according to farmers.

Paddy is grown twice while sugarcane is an annual crop. With the district reeling under drought, it means that there will be no crop for over 20 months, leaving the farmers in dire straits.

KRS water level

The water level in KRS dam has dipped to 97.03 feet. Currently, only 12 tmcft of water is available. Taking into account the average of 35 years, 13.08 tmcft of water is expected in the dam till December end. Out of this, 10 tmcft is reserved for drinking purpose for Bengaluru and other cities.

Sowing is done on 3,39,136 hectares, depending on the water released into canals from the KRS dam. Now, water has to be released for 80 more days. With an average of 0.488 tmcft required every day, a total of 38.04 tmcft is required. So, the possibilities are very feeble, say officials.

As the ICC has decided to release water till August 30, water will be stopped from August 31 to September 9. The water level in KRS dam as on September 10 will be taken into consideration and a decision will be taken then, the officials said.

Speaking to DH, farmer leader Sunanda Jayaram said, “Give us water, or give us compensation for crop loss. The government should take the responsibility of protecting the farmers.”

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