KRS water level lowest in 16 years; farmers in limbo

KRS water level lowest in 16 years; farmers in limbo

Paddy, sugarcane growers in Mandya staring yet another crop loss

The water level in Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir has hit the lowest (87.75 feet) on Wednesday in the corresponding period in the past 16 years, leaving the farmers of the region in limbo.

With the government deciding to abide by the Supreme Court’s directions and release water to Tamil Nadu, the farmers are uncertain about their future.

It may be mentioned that S M Krishna had to face a similar crisis during his tenure as the chief minister in the year 2003, when the water level dipped to 91.93 feet. Similarly, the water level was 110.60 feet when Jagadish Shettar was the CM in the year 2012.

The water level as on September 14 this year (87.75 ft) is the lowest in comparison with the water level between 2000 and 2016. Currently, the dam has 14.91 tmcft of water and only 6.26 tmcft water will be made available for irrigation.

While 13,000 to 16,000 cusecs is being released to the river from KRS dam in the last eight days, the inflow is 8,500 cusecs. The water level which did not exceed 99.60 feet this year, has come down by 12 feet (as on Sept 14). With water to be released up to September 20, the water level may dip further to 74 feet, said officials of Water Resources department. Only three to four tmcft water will be available for irrigation activities, they said.

Farmers in trouble
The farmers in the Cauvery basin, who had completed sowing activities hoping that the water would be released to canals on rotation method, are facing uncertainty. They are totally dependent on the canals and have sown paddy in around one lakh acres and sugarcane in 35,000 acres. They require water up to December end to save their crops.

According to farmers, they require at least 30 tmcft of water to save the standing crops. But, only six tmcft is available for crops. The water is now being released into canals, which would be stopped by September 20, as per rotation system. They are     clueless as what to do if there is no water available after the said date.

Vijay, a farmer of Induvala, Mandya taluk said, he has already spent Rs 25,000 per acre to cultivate paddy and hoped that the government will find a way to bail out the farmers. The farmers, who had suffered heavy losses due to drought last year too, fear of falling into debt trap, if the situation does not any better, he added.


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