Declining water level in River Cauvery raises concern

Declining water level in River Cauvery raises concern

Tourists cross River Cauvery on foot at Dubare camp near Kushalnagar as the water level has come down drastically.

River Cauvery, the lifeline of Kodagu, has lost its splendour with the flow of water getting thinner with each passing day.

The current situation indicates that the villages situated on the banks of the river will face a severe water crisis in the coming days.

Summer has just begun and the pace at which the water level in the river is declining is alarming.

River Harangi too is drying up rapidly and there is a shortage of drinking water for the people and cattle.

Last August, Kushalnagar town was inundated following heavy rains. Cauvery and Harangi rivers were in spate, submerging the villages in its proximity. But, over a period of seven months, the water level has come down to a great extent.

In places like Dubare, Kaveri Nisargadhama and Kanive Sri Ramalingeshwara Kshetra, River Cauvery can be easily crossed by walking.

Last year, as the Cauvery had dried up completely, there was a scarcity of drinking water and the Mahshir fish in Kaveri Nisargadhama was released to Harangi river by the Fisheries Department.

This year, the district administration has asked the Gram Panchayats in Kushalnagar to make arrangements for the supply of drinking water.

The water board has created bunds on the course of River Cauvery by laying sandbags across the flow of the river. However, the flow has come down to a record low this time before the speculated time, in comparison to the previous years.

Farmers have taken to drip irrigation as the level of water in Harangi reservoir has come down. Harangi is the major source of water for irrigation.

Tahsildar Govindaraj has warned of initiating legal action against those who draw water from the river through pumpsets, in excessive quantities.

He also observed that many agriculturists have built illegal make-shift bunds to divert river water to their plantations.

Kushalnagar Town Panchayat chief officer Sujay Kumar said that necessary measures are being taken to ensure water supply for the people in Kushalnagar town.

Water Board, Kushalnagar assistant engineer Anand said that constructing bunds across the river is only a temporary measure. The Town Panchayat has been requested to construct a dam as a permanent measure.

Deficit of 12 lakh litres of water

The water board has been supplying water to Kushalnagar, Mullusoge and Gummanakolli which has a population of around 35,000. The officials said that only 28 lakh litres can be provided as against a requirement of 40 lakh litres of water in the region on a day-to-day basis. There is a shortage of 12 lakh litres of water. Water stored in two overhead tanks, each having a capacity of 2.5 lakh litre is being supplied to various residential layouts in Kushalnagar town and Mullusoge limits, once in two days and once in three days respectively, said officials.

A similar situation had occurred in 2012 when River Cauvery almost dried up. The water which was stagnant in various locations in the course of the river was drawn using pump sets to cater to the needs of the people. The same method was followed by the water board last year.

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