Less rain leaves dams with just 10% water: Shivakumar 

D K Shivakumar

Deficient rainfall has pushed down water levels in reservoirs in the Cauvery basin, Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar said on Wednesday. 

“Only 10% water of the total capacity is left. This time last year, water was at 30% of the total capacity,” Shivakumar told reporters. “The situation will become more difficult if things continue this way.” 

As on July 2, inflows into the Krishnaraja Sagar, Kabini, Harangi and Hemavathi reservoirs are significantly lower compared with the corresponding period last year. Authorities are concerned that the current water levels would suffice for this month alone and are hoping for rains in order to meet the needs of Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya, Ramanagara and Tumakuru districts.

Shivakumar urged the Centre to issue necessary clearances for the government to go ahead with building a balancing reservoir across Cauvery river near Mekedatu. The project will help regulate the flow of 177.25 tmcft of water and provide drinking water to the Bengaluru metropolitan region.

“I have already met Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and others, seeking speedy clearance,” he said. 

The state government has already submitted a detailed project report (DPR) on the Mekedatu balancing reservoir, which is before the Central Water Commission. Recently, the state-run Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited had approached the Centre, seeking issuance of terms of reference for the environmental clearance to proceed with the Mekedatu project.

Karnataka, the minister said, will not get into a confrontation with Tamil Nadu over the Mekedatu project.

“Tamil Nadu is our brother. The Mekedatu balancing reservoir will be used only for drinking water and energy generation. After producing hydroelectric power, water will flow into Tamil Nadu and we can’t divert that. Our Tamil Nadu brothers should understand this,” he said. Tamil Nadu has opposed Karnataka’s Mekedatu project. 

Shivakumar also justified the need for providing water supply to Bengaluru, when asked about opposition to the government’s plan to fetch 30 tmc ft of water for the state capital from Linganamakki in Shivamogga. Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara is pushing for this project. 

“This proposal was there when I was energy minister and I had kept it on hold. It’s still premature. But there is pressure on the government to meet the needs of Bengaluru. The city contributes 39% of India’s exports. The entire world is looking at Bengaluru. India is being seen through Bengaluru. There’s pressure on us to provide facilities,” Shivakumar said.

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