Large lakes turn into a puddle

Dried lake beds, like the one at Devarayasamudra lake are common sights in many parts of Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts. DH Photo

On the map, villages around Mulbagal taluk in Kolar district appear to be water-rich and surrounded by several tanks and lakes. On the ground, even some of the largest lakes have depleted into a mere puddle. Villagers who anticipated drought and did not use water from nearby lakes for agriculture, consider themselves fortunate despite their agrarian troubles. 

At Bellambelli village is the Holali lake, one of the largest in the taluk. The lake is a source of water for animals from at least six surrounding villages. “During noon and around sunset, the whole lake will be filled with domestic animals which come here to drink water. People from Holali, Huthur, Keeluholali and others drive their animals here for water,” said Manjunath from the village.

The presence of water has also aggravated the problem of deer and boars, which are also drawn by water. “There is water in the lake because it was not used for agriculture. Or else, we would be staring at a dry lake bed,” notes Lingappa, a farmer. 

A few kilometres away is Devarayasamudra lake in the eponymous village. The large water body has all but dried up after water from the lake was released for agriculture during the rainy season. “The water could have been used if the villagers had not decided to catch the fish commercially raised in the lake. Water quality dipped soon after and rendered it unusable,” said Parvathamma, a resident of the village.

Chintamani in Chikkaballapur district, though is surrounded by five to six lakes finds itself battling water scarcity. According to Ravi Kumar, former member of Town Municipal Corportation, the whole situation could have been avoided with efficient water management. “Chintamani lake used to supply water for 10 of the 31 wards round the year. Rather than making alternative water arrangement for other wards in the city, the lake water supply was extended to 21 wards. We tapped that lake dry,” he said. Apart from poor monsoons, both civic agencies and the general public are to blame for the situation faced today, he added.

As a result, the town finds itself in a situation where there are mini water tankers powered by bulls supplying water to areas that require water.

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