The increased outflow from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) on Saturday gave rise to fears among Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activists and Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha members that the State was releasing water to Tamil Nadu.
While vedike activists staged a ‘Jal Sathyagrah’ near Balmuri waterfalls to register protest, KRRS members held a meeting at the KRS to discuss the issue.
The reservoir had reached the dead storage level of 74 ft in the third week of March. The water-level then dipped to 62.92 ft on June 12, the lowest in 68 years. Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (CNNL) officials stopped releasing water to KRS-dependent canals from January 1 for agricultural purposes.
Outflow at 1,177 cusecs
CNNL officials were maintaining the outflow rate between 800 and 900 cubic feet per second (cusecs) until a few days ago. On Saturday morning, however, the outflow was at 1,177 cusecs, according to CNNL officials.
The vedike activists raised slogans against the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and CNNL officials and threatened to end their lives by jumping into the river if the authorities “did not stop releasing water to the neighbouring State”. CNNL officials were releasing water at 3,000 cusecs from the KRS. But, they were misleading farmers by giving false information about the quantum of water being released, the protesters alleged.
KRRS leader K.N. Nanjunde Gowda, who presided over the meeting, too alleged that CNNL officials were releasing huge quantum of water to Tamil Nadu.
“Tamil Nadu had demanded 10 tmcft of water from Karnataka in June. Though the Cauvery Supervisory Committee (CSC) rejected Tamil Nadu’s appeal, the officials are releasing water to that State,” Mr. Gowda claimed.
He said 600 cusecs of water was enough to meet the drinking water requirements of Bangalore, Mysore and other KRS-dependent districts.
Meanwhile, tourists at Balmuri were forced to leave at around 11 a.m. as the water-level in the river increased. Shopkeepers at Balmuri alleged that CNNL officials had not issued any alert before “increasing” the outflow from the reservoir.
Vijay Kumar, executive engineer at KRS (CNNL), told The Hindu, “The outflow rate was 1,177 cusecs on Saturday.” He rubbished reports that water was being released to Tamil Nadu.
“Water being released to meet the drinking water needs of KRS-dependent districts,” he said.