With water levels in reservoirs across Karnataka reaching dead storage levels, the state government has now ruled out supplying water for agricultural purposes. MB Patil, Minister for Water Resources, said that the government is urging farmers to not use their pump sets to draw water from canals and reservoirs for agricultural activities.
“Judging by the water levels in the dams, it will be sufficient for the next 60 days for the entire state,” Patil added. Although the agricultural season is over, water will not be released to farmers for growing the second crop.
In parts of northern Karnataka, which received heavy rainfall in 2016, water was supplied from Narayanpura and Almatti dams for two crops. The Almatti dam has no water anymore and it would be ‘greedy’ to ask for more water for growing crops when there is barely any water for drinking.
The Minister said that the Karnataka government has urged Maharashtra to release 2 TMC ft of water to the Krishna basin.
Last year, Maharashtra had demanded that Karnataka must supply an additional 1.2 TMC ft of water to Solapur through canals from the Krishna river. The government will be informing Maharashtra that we will supply this water in May and ask them to release the water immediately.
He added that Chief Minster Siddaramaiah will hold talks with Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.
He said that a team from the water resources department will hold talks with officials from the Maharashtra government as well.
Karnataka has also got approval from the Andhra Pradesh government for the release of 0.5 TMC ft of water for the Krishna basin.
The minister, however, said that Bengaluru had enough drinking water till June 15. The Krishna Raja Sagar dam currently holds 4.438 TMC of water and the dam hits dead storage level at 4.4 TMC. The Kabini dam has only 0.295 TMC.
Bengaluru needs about 4.14 TMC of water to meets its drinking water needs for the next 60 days.
“We are hoping that the pre-monsoon showers in May and an early monsoon in June can help us solve the water shortage,” Patil said, adding that he had spoken to Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board officials regarding the issue.
The dams located in the Cauvery, Krishna and Tungabhadra river basins are witnessing a dip in storage levels. Currently, water available in KRS, Kabini, Harangi, Hemavathi, Almatti, Narayanapura, Hidkal, Hipparagi, Tungabhadra and Malaprabha reservoirs will be drawn only for drinking purposes.
“The BWSSB needs a daily discharge of 600 cusecs from the reservoirs. Taking into account the transit losses, evaporation and syphoning of water en route, the water resources department has assured daily discharge of 800 cusecs. This will enable us to meet the drinking water needs of Bengaluru until June 15,” he said.
The BWSSB has been authorised to implement water rationing, if necessary, to stretch the utility of water in the city. The water resources agency will take the decision after a meeting next week.
This article was originally published on The News Minute.
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