Weak monsoon: Cauvery basin stares at another drought year

Weak monsoon: Cauvery basin stares at another drought year

Total storage in 4 dams is 26 tmcft against 57.89 tmcft last year

Weak monsoon: Cauvery basin stares at another drought year
It looks like the Cauvery basin will witness one more year of distress. Weak monsoon in the state so far has resulted in poor inflow into the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin —KRS, Kabini, Harangi and Hemavathi — and the combined storage levels stood at 26 tmcft compared to 57.89 tmcft last year.

Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on Monday, Water Resources Minister M B Patil said the state government will wait for two more weeks and if the monsoon fails to pick up, it will convene a meeting of all stakeholders to decide on its next step of action.

“Last year, the state was considered to be reeling under its worst drought during the last 40 years. The total storage in the four reservoirs of Cauvery basin stood at 57.89 tmcft this date last year. However, today, the combined storage level stands at 26 tmcft, less than half compared to last year,” Patil said. He said the government is keeping its fingers crossed and hoping for good rain in the coming days.

He said priority will be accorded to drinking water, followed by agriculture and supply of water to industries. “The kharif season has begun and there is no adequate water for irrigation purposes. Farmers should realise the situation,” the minister said.

The water level in reservoirs in North Karnataka is also low, but better compared to that in the Cauvery basin, he added.   

Patil said given the distress situation, it is not practically possible for Karnataka to release the stipulated quantum of water to Tamil Nadu as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award. He said that from June 1 till date, Karnataka has released 2.2 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu. As per the award, Karnataka has to release 44 tmcft (10 tmcft in June and 34 tmcft in July) to the neighbouring state. The state is releasing about 25 to 30% of the total inflow to Tamil Nadu every day, he said.

The minister said the state government was ready for an out-of-court settlement to resolve the Mahadayi River water dispute with Goa and Maharashtra. He denied reports in a section of the media that the Malaprabha River water is being diverted to the Mahadayi.

He said the state government had given an undertaking before the Supreme Court and Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal that it will not divert water to Kalasa Banduri project till completion of hearing and was abiding by it.

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