River diversion projects are anti-environmental : IISc Scientist

River diversion projects are anti-environmental : IISc Scientist

River diversion projects are anti-environmental : IISc Scientist

Diverting water from the rivers in the coastal districts to Kolar, Bengaluru and Chikkaballapur districts is anti-environmental, opined IISc (Bengaluru) EWRG-CES coordinator Dr T V Ramachandra.

He was speaking after releasing the technical report 'Carrying Capacity of Nethravathi River Basin Based on Ecological Sensitiveness' at the Pre-Lake 2018 conference on 'Sustainable Management of Global Water Resources: Need and Challenges' jointly organised by Alva's Education Foundation and EWRG-CES IISc Bangalore, at Kuvempu Hall, Vidyagiri, Moodbidri. The report has been prepared after conducting studies on the amount of rainfall in Kodagu, Hassan, Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.

"The water required for Bengaluru, Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts should be procured through rainwater harvesting and rejuvenation of lakes. The haphazard process of urbanisation has resulted in scarcity of water in Bengaluru," he said.

"The catchment area of River Nethravathi receives 290 TMC water through annual rainfall and 238 TMC is required for consumption in the coastal district. There is a proposal to desalinate sea water in the coast. But, this will increase the saline content in the sea, beyond than safe levels. This will also lead to conversion of sweet water to salt water in the regions close to the sea. Increase in saline content could also be detrimental to marine life," Dr Ramachandra explained.

"The government should not ignore preservation of natural resources. The welfare of the coastal region should not be sacrificed for the sake of Bengaluru. Bengaluru receives an annual rainfall of 740 mm, meeting 70% of Bengaluru's requirement of water. But, rainwater harvesting is not given due attention," the scientist said.

He added, "The study says that the river diversion project, hydro electric projects, construction of dams and commercial activities have been harming the sensitive atmosphere of the Western Ghats. The activities have been spoiling the climate of Nethravathi and Phalguni river basins. The hydroelectric project in Kumaradhara river is unscientific."

Russian delegate Nickolai Filatov, scientific advisor and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, referred to the failure of river diversion projects in other parts of the world and said that such projects should not be implemented at the cost of Nature's balance.

The Russian Academy of Sciences deputy director Alexander Gelfan, Dr Institute of Limnology, Saint Petersburg, director Shamil Raufovich Pozdniakov and Russian Academy of Sciences research secretary Tatjana Ivanoivna Regerand and others took part in the sessions.

Alva's Education Foundation managing trustee Vivek Alva presided over the programme. Alva's College principal Prof Kurian was present on the occasion.