Fall in the groundwater level has had a serious impact on horticultural crops

Despite owning a cash-rich pomegranate farm in Molakalmur taluk of the district, T. Revanna's earnings and hopes are diminishing — almost as rapidly as the water in his four borewells.

About three years ago, he got four borewells drilled and the water was more than adequate for his 34-acre farm.

But in the last few months two of the four borewells have dried up, while the groundwater level has fallen significantly in the other two.

The drought in the district is having a serious impact on the horticultural crops, and Mr. Revanna is among those farmers who have been hit hard by the dry weather.

According to officials in the Horticulture Department if the district does not receive good rain in the next 15 to 20 days the situation will worsen. Horticultural crops cover 1.1 lakh hectares in the district and farmers heavily depend on borewells for irrigation. Chitradurga district stands second in fruit production after Bijapur and is one of the top 10 in the State in horticulture cultivation.

“The lack of water is one of the chief causes of worry for horticultural farmers. The water level in the borewells is going down, giving sleepless nights to farmers”, officials said. As per the records with the zilla panchayat's engineering section, 30 per cent of the new borewells have failed, while over 700 have dried up. Officials said that the water-level has depleted by over 50 ft in just three months.

However, farmers do not agree with these figures, saying officials do not have records of borewells drilled by them in their fields. Farmers of Hosadurga say that in Nakikere village alone some 80 borewells were drilled in last three months, and of them over 60 failed.

According to an horticulture official, arecanut, which is cultivated in over 60,000 hectares in the district, is most susceptible to drought.

Vishwanath, an arecanut grower in Hiriyur taluk, says that “if water is not provided regularly, the yield declines rapidly, and worse, it takes years to increase it.”

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