Water-level was 90.49 ft on Friday against 120 ft the same day last year

With the water-level in the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) near Srirangapatna plummeting steeply, Irrigation Department officials have expressed anxiety over the reservoir reaching the “dead storage level” (74 ft) before December 31.

The reservoir had around 7,500 million cubic feet (7.5 tmcft) at 6 a.m. on Friday. The farmers have cultivated various crops on over one lakh acres of land in the district and the standing crops need at least half-a-tmcft of water every day.

Officials at the Irrigation Department and Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (CNNL) say that the water-level at the reservoir may hit the “dead storage level” by the end of 2012.

The water-level in the KRS reservoir, the lifeline for the Cauvery basin districts, stood at 90.49 ft on Friday morning as against 120 ft on the same day in 2011. While the inflow rate was at 1,819 cubic feet per second (cusecs), the outflow of water was at 5,086 cusecs at 6 a.m. on Friday.

The maximum water-level of the reservoir is 124.80 ft.

While the KRS had 11 tmcft of water at 6 a.m. on December 8, it had around 7.5 tmcft on Friday (December 14, 2012) against 30 tmcft same day last year.

More than three tmcft has been released to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court order, and to river-based canals for agricultural purposes in the last five days, a CNNL official told The Hindu.

Besides live storage, the reservoir has around 4 tmcft for “river depended canals” and 4.4 tmcft of “dead storage” which cannot be released to canals or the river.

A large number of farmers have cultivated sugarcane, paddy, ragi, jowar, maize, green gram, horse gram, black gram, sunflower, field beans, seasmum, castor, soya bean, pulses and oil seeds across the district, an official of the Department of Agriculture said.

The farmers have cultivated crops on more than one lakh acres of land in Mandya, K. Sangaiah, Deputy Director, Agriculture Department, told The Hindu.

The Irrigation Department authorities have to release at least 5,000 cusecs every day to Chikka Devaraya canal, Virija canal, Bangara Doddi canal, Visvesvaraya canal, Right Bank Low Level canal (RBLL) and Left Bank Low Level canal (LBLL) to save the standing crops.

Only 16.5 ft of water is available for use for drinking and irrigation purposes and may be sufficient till December 31. The water-level is likely to hit 74 ft (dead storage level) before the year-end, the CNNL officials said.

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