Cauvery basin may experience flooding: Study

The water situation in Cauvery and Krishna — two major river basins of Karnataka — is projected to take an interesting turn, thanks to the climate change pattern in the state.

Mathematical analysis by The Energy and Resources Institute as part of the state action plan for climate change reveals that the Cauvery basin, riddled with fights for water, will witness excess rainfall, while the flooding Krishna basin will run short of water.

The scenario also predicts that the average temperatures may rise further by 1.7 degrees Celsius to 2.2 degrees Celsius by the 2030s.

The analysis predicts that overall reduced precipitation and continuous warming is a probable scenario for Karnataka. It is also predicted that regions that already witness less rainfall and higher temperatures, such as northern Karnataka, will further experience lesser rainfall and increase in average temperatures.

There are 8.6 lakh irrigation wells, 94% of which are equipped with electric pumps. As much as 64 watersheds covering 35 of the 176 taluks of the state are over-exploited.

For Karnataka, annual emissions of the three major greenhouse gases (GHG) are estimated to amount to 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, that is, 4.6% of India’s emissions.

Agriculture is highly vulnerable to climate change because of its wide exposure to temperature, precipitation, pests and diseases. And so are forests, where about 38% of the present forest area mostly in the central and northern parts of the Western Ghats, is predicted to experience shifts with respect to forest type.

“We need mitigation of climate change that requires conservation of energy resources, practising favourable irrigation techniques, using less water and chemical fertilisers to grow crops,” said former minister B K Chandrashekar at the National Seminar on Climate Change on Thursday.

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