It is happy news for farmers in the Cauvery basin region of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu with the water-level in three of the four Cauvery basin reservoirs in the upper riparian State touching almost the maximum.
Some of the crest gates of the Krishnarajasagar reservoir have been opened and a flood warning has been issued to the people residing in the low-lying areas adjoining the river course. Villagers, and also tourists, on the banks of the Kapila, have been asked to stay away from the river waters. The Kabini and the Harangi reservoirs are full and it is only a matter of time before the Hemavati reservoir too registers the full reservoir level (FRL).
This is the first time in about a decade that the Krishnarajasagar has filled to the brim in July, in just about seven weeks after the onset of the south-west monsoon. The water-level in the KRS remained at the maximum level for nearly three months in 2006 after a four-year drought.
Sources in the State government told The Hindu that the combined outflow from the Kabini and the KRS dams was around 31,000 cusecs and this would be further stepped up, if required. However, at the Biligundlu measuring station of the Central Water Commission, the flow recorded early on Monday was around 32,000 cusecs.
While Karnataka, as per the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, has to release 34 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu in July, it has released 44.58 tmcft till July 21. Most of this quantum of water has been released from the Kabini dam.
While the inflow into the KRS was nearly 42,000 cusecs, water was being released at the rate of 15,000 cusecs.
The water-level in the dam was nearly 122 ft while the full level is 124.80 ft. In the normal course, the water-level is maintained around 123 ft, and the Irrigation Department is empowered to open and shut the crest gates as required.
The catchment areas of the KRS have been receiving copious rain for nearly a week now, and it is continuing to rain in the area.
Meanwhile, efforts are on to arrange a programme for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to offer ‘bagina’ at the KRS.
The heavy discharge from the reservoir is likely to flood the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary.
At a recent meeting of the Cauvery Supervisory Committee, an assurance was given to Tamil Nadu that the south-west monsoon was normal this year and that all efforts will be made to comply with the water releases stipulated by the CWDT.