With Karnataka releasing around 10,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu from Thursday night, the water-level in Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS), near Srirangapatna, compared to last year, has dropped sharply.
The water-level in the reservoir at 6 a.m. on Saturday was 95.5 ft against 121 ft the same day last year. The inflow, even after releasing water to KRS from the Harangi dam, was 2,164 cusecs at 6 a.m. on Saturday against 4,477 cusecs during the same period last year.
The live storage in the reservoir was 11 tmcft against 30 tmcft last year, officials in Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (CNNL) told The Hindu.
Apart from live storage, the reservoir has around 4 tmcft for “river-dependent canals” and 4.4 tmcft of “dead storage”, which cannot be released into canals or the river.
According to CNNL officials, Mysore requires around 1.5 tmcft till June 2013 for drinking purposes, Bangalore and Ramanagaram 5 tmcft during the same period, and Mandya at least 12 tmcft for drinking and irrigation till December-end.
The State has released more than 30 tmcft to Tamil Nadu from September this year.
The Cauvery Monitoring Committee has directed the State to release 12 tmcft more of water till the year-end. Also, possibilities of Tamil Nadu demanding 20 more tmcft of water cannot be ruled out, an official attached to the Irrigation Department told this correspondent.
“The water-level may hit the ‘dead storage’ by mid January. Once the water level falls below 74 ft, it will be difficult to ensure drinking water supply to various cities,” the officer said.
However, in spite of the water-level in KRS coming down, officials at CNNL and Irrigation Department are optimistic that rain in the coming days may come to the rescue of farmers.
Tamil Nadu may stop demanding water once it rains there, officials said.