Hulikal in Shimoga district's Hosanagar taluk received the highest rainfall in the State during this year's monsoon as well.
Hulikal, situated in the dense forests of the Western Ghats, has been described by some as “the new rain capital” of Karnataka. Over the past few years it has surpassed the rainfall record held by Agumbe in Tirthahalli taluk, also in Shimoga district.
While Hulikal received 8,311 mm of rainfall during the June-September monsoon period this year, Agumbe received 7,208 mm. The average rainfall during the past five years in Hulikal and Agumbe was 8,077 mm and 7,764 mm respectively.
The major factor that has contributed to the increased rainfall in Hulikal is the construction of the Mani dam across the Varahi river for generating electricity, according to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) Director V.S. Prakash.
The dam was constructed between 1982 and 1989, and there has been a change in the rainfall pattern since 1994. According to the KSNDMC, Hulikal, located more than 800 feet below Agumbe, has received heavy rainfall (more than 125 mm) on an average of 4.6 times a year compared to twice a year in Agumbe during the past decade.
Dr. Prakash said that “the dam has created an anthropogenic impact on the environment and the weather system and that has led to heavy rainfall in Hulikal”.
There has been a change in the temperature, humidity and soil moisture in Hulikal after the construction of the dam.
“If there had been no dam, then Hulikal would not have received more rain than Agumbe,” he said.
Destruction of forests
However, a few environmentalists argued that destruction of forests was the major factor for the decrease in rainfall over Agumbe.
According to KSNDMC data for the past five years, Hulikal recorded more rain than Agumbe except in 2008.
Hulikal received 8,656 mm of rain in 2006, 9,038 mm in 2007, 7,115 mm in 2008, 8,357 mm in 2009, and 7,221 mm in 2010.
Agumbe received 8,457 mm in 2006, 8,255 mm in 2007, 7,199 mm in 2008, 7,982 mm in 2009, and 6,924 mm in 2010.
Hulikal is located 97 km from Shimoga and 32 km from Hosanagar.
“Hulikal is one of most picturesque spots in the Western Ghats region. It is a heaven for nature lovers during the monsoon. Here rains pour throughout the day without a break. Dense forests, small and attractive waterfalls provide rich treat to the eyes of those who pass through the road,” M. Venkatesha, a resident of Hosangar, said.