Poor storage in TB dam leaves paddy farmers high & dry

Tungabhadra reservoir near Hosapete has only 31 tmc ft water leaving the farmers of the basin worried. DH FILE PHOTO

Poor storage in Tungabhadra reservoir, owing to below-par monsoon in its catchment Malnad region, has left the farmers from Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh high and dry.

It is said, the Malnad region, this season, has faced a rain deficit of 34%. In the corresponding period, last year, the reservoir had received about 160 tmcft water. This time, it is just 31 tmcft.

The Irrigation Consultative Committee (ICC) would take a decision to release water to canals only if the dam has a storage of 40 tmcft. Also, the delay in appointment of district in-charge minister, who chairs the ICC meeting, will further push the dates of water release.

Vast tracts of paddy fields in the district, considered the rice bowl of Karnataka, has been cultivated by the farmers dependent on the canal water. Only a few farmers who own pumpsets have transplanted paddy and have sprinkled fertilisers twice.

The district has been experiencing light showers or drizzle, this season. But paddy crop needs large amounts of water. If the monsoon activities fail to pick up in Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts, the farmers in Tungabhadra command area and river basin may give up on Kharif crops.

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