Borewells dry up, but rain a solace

Drums line up a street in a village which gets water through tankers in Bindiganavile village of Nagamangala taluk, Mandya district.

Drought raged in the Mysuru and surrounding districts over the past few months although the recent heavy rain has brought some cheer to the farmers.

Still, all five taluks in Chamarajanagar district, all seven in Hassan district, five in Mandya district and two in Mysuru district have been declared drought-hit. There are problems in supply of water for drinking in parts of Mysuru city, Mandya city, Hassan city and some villages.

In Mandya, borewells have dried up, groundwater table depleted and drinking water is supplied in tankers in a few villages. No water is let into canals for summer crops in the district. The rains, if at all, are the only respite.

Over 600 villages were drought-hit and 100 of them are supplied drinking water in tankers. Nagamangala taluk is worst-hit. All taluks, except KR Pet and Maddur have been declared drought-hit.

As agriculture activities are hit, most women in Mandya taluk work in garment factories while men migrate to Mysuru, Bengaluru and other cities in search of
jobs. Water level in KRS dam was 82.10 ft on May 13 against the maximum capacity of 124.8 ft. Deputy Commissioner P C Jaffer said the district administration has initiated measures to supply water, fodder, seeds and fertilisers. There is no shortage of fodder, he said.

Hassan district

Although depleting water level in Hemavathi dam is giving a grim picture of water scarcity in Hassan district, officials don’t see any problem saying all possible measures have been taken to ease the situation.Arsikere taluk is affected with 21 villages facing severe water crisis. Two villages in Belur taluk too face a similar situation. Drinking water is supplied in tankers to villages in Arsikere, Channarayapatna, Belur and Sakleshpur taluks, said Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Vijayprakash.

Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis told DH that the district had fodder stock of 3.15 lakh metric tonne.

Water-level in Hemavathi reservoir was 2,864.71 ft (on May 13), against maximum level of 2,922 ft. The maximum storage capacity is 37.103 tmcft. The availability is only 3.63 tmcft. Last year the water level was 2862.52 ft on the corresponding day.

There is drinking water problem in parts of Mysuru city and in villages bordering the city.

The district administration has declared KR Nagar and Periyapatna as drought-hit taluks. According to Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer K Jyothi, two or three villages face water shortage.

In Chamarajanagar district, rain since mid-April have brought smiles on the face of farmers. “As the Forest department allowed us to lay roads in forests, we sunk borewells. We now have problem in just Medagane village,” Deputy Commissioner B B Kaveri said.

“Crops on 18,000 hectares in Gundlupet, Chamarajanagar and Hanur were damaged during Rabi season. However, no crop loss was reported in Yelandur and Kollegal taluks. We have fodder for another 13 weeks,” she said.

The Forest department is trying to bring back the lost vegetation in the wildfire-hit forests under Bandipur Tiger Reserve. It has sown seeds of trees, bamboo and grass.

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