It’s bad news these days for farmers depending on the waters of the Tungabhadra dam for their crops as the rains have been delayed.
The blazing sun has only added to the woes of the farmers. Given the situation, sowing the fields is the last thing on their minds.
The water in the dam has dipped to dead storage. The ground has turned into a frying pan of sorts, say the farmers.
The farmers, who had readied the ground for sowing, have now been forced to put their plans on hold. Some farmers had gone ahead and begun the sowing process. But their efforts came to nought as the skies are yet to open up.
The going has not been good for the farmers over the last couple of months ever since water release to the canals was stopped.
Inflow to the reservoir has been low as there is no rain in the catchment area, especially the Malnad districts. The total effect is that the fields have become parched.
But the saving grace in all this is that there is no drinking water crisis for people in Ballari, Koppal and Raichur as there is still 2.06 tmcft water in the dam. However, the relief may not last long if the available water is exhausted.
The situation is more worrisome than last year, as the water storage on June 23 in 2018 was 26.21 tmcft. The inflow was 6,000 cusecs.
There was no rain in the district during the corresponding period last year also. But showers in the catchment area had brought in the good inflow. Water was released to the canals in July itself and farmers had grown paddy, plantains and sugar cane.
Officials of the Tungabhadra dam board say that they will be able to release water to the canals only after August, even if it rains by the end of this month. This may only add insult to injury for the farmers.
“By this time every year, we would have started sowing the fields across the district. We may not be able to grow jowar even this year,” said Basaiah Swami, a farmer from Kaddirampura in the taluk.