Krishna basin taluks starve as Upper Bhadra remains elusive

With successive droughts owing to below par rainfall and waterbodies having gone bone dry, the only option left before the government to address water woes in the parched taluks of Krishna basin in the district is to expedite the implementation of Upper Bhadra project.

The elected representatives in the district, it is said, have always ignored the interests of the taluks which lie on Krishna basin. It is alleged that they have not shown the same interest and enthusiasm they displayed in getting Hemavathi river water to the taluks on Cauvery basin of the district. This discrimination has created a gap between the people of Krishna and Cauvery basin taluks.

Tiptur, Turuvekere, Gubbi, Kunigal and Tumakuru taluks lie in Cauvery basin while Sira, Chikkanayakanahalli, Madhugiri, Pavagad and Koratagere taluks fall in Krishna basin.

In fact the district has a rare opportunity to make use of the water from Krishna and Cauvery rivers and their tributaries. But due to lack of political will and indifference of the elected representatives, the district has not received an ounce of water from the rivers of Krishna basin.

The works on the proposed Upper Bhadra project is moving at a snail's pace. The delay in implementation of the project will only worsen the water situation in parched, Pavagad, Sira, Madhugiri, Koratagere and CN Halli taluks.

Bachawat Award
According to Bachawat Tribunal Award, Karnataka was allocated 952 tmcft of water from Krishna basin rivers. Of which, 923 tmcft was allocated to North Karnataka districts. Upper Bhadra projects aims to utilise 29 tmcft to meet water needs of the parched districts in Central Karnataka. Under Upper Bhadra, 6 tmcft of water was allocated to the Krishna basin taluks in the district. The share of Tumakuru district may go up once the long-pending project is implemented.

But 6 tmcft or a little more than that is not enough to meet the water needs of the parched taluks. The government and the district administration have to pay attention towards rejuvenating the Krishna basin rivers in the district, says irrigation experts.

Rejuvenation of rivers
North Pinakini river which originates at Nandi Hills, cuts through Pavagad taluk, Doddaballapur and Penugonda in Andhra before joining Deruru reservoir. The river has remained dry in the past four to five years. The authorities can resurrect the river by stopping sand mining and clearing the encroachments on river course. A small reservoir (Kindi dam) has been built at Nagalamadike. If the rejuvenated North Pinakini fills the dam. The water stored at the reservoir would mitigate the drinking water woes in parched Pavagad to a large extent.

Likewise, the rain-fed rivers - Suwarnamukhi, Jayamangali and Kumudwati, if rejuvenated, the water problem in Madhugiri and Koratagere taluks would be overcome.

The course of these rivers has been damaged due to indiscriminate mining. Also the course has been changed at places due to the rampant growth of weed and thorny shrubs. The elected representatives of the region must pressure the government to rejuvenate the rivers by taking steps to stop sand mining, clear encroachments. If that's done, the rivers will see water flow during the monsoon and the same can be stored at check dams built along the river course on all three rivers. During monsoon, the villages in Kodagenahalli and Puravara hoblis get water at five to six feet while in summer the water table goes down considerably.
DH News Service

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