Rainfall was deficient by 26 per cent
The Cauvery River Authority (CRA) and the Supreme Court’s directive to Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu appears to have come at a time when the storage level in all the four major reservoirs of the Cauvery basin — Hemavati, Kabini, Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) and Harangi — is low compared with last year’s storage levels owing to deficient rainfall.
Sources in the Water Resources Department told The Hindu that the storage level in all the reservoirs has dipped following 26 per cent deficient rainfall in the State at the end of the southwest monsoon.
As on October 4, the storage in KRS stood at 30.11 tmcft as against its capacity of 49.45 tmcft.
The inflow was 5,192 cusecs and the outflow was 9,728 cusecs. This is in contrast to the storage in the corresponding period in 2011 when it was 45.63 tmcft and inflow was 6,109 cusecs and outflow 6,790 cusecs.
The storage in Kabini (across the Kapila, a tributary of the Cauvery with its catchment in Kerala) is 11.66 tmcft against the capacity of 19.51 tmcft, with the inflow being 2,056 cusecs. Last year, the storage as on October 4 was 16.72 tmcft and inflow 716 cusecs.
Outflow from the Kabini dam was 5,003 cusecs compared to 2,490 cusecs last year.
Despite less inflow, the outflow from the KRS and Kabini dams was more this year following the Supreme Court directive to Karnataka to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Release of water set off a wave of protests against the State government in the river basin districts.
The storage in Harangi reservoir is 5.87 tmcft against the capacity of 8.5 tmcft, while in the Hemavati reservoir the storage level was 27.41 tmcft against the capacity of 37.1 tmcft.
The inflow into Harangi was 361 cusecs while outflow was 1,500 cusecs. Inflow and outflow during the corresponding period last year was 103 cusecs and 1,500 cusecs respectively.
As on October 4, the inflow into Hemavati was 3,780 cusecs and outflow was 6,229 cusecs. Inflow and outflow during the corresponding period last year was 2,932 cusecs and 3,250 cusecs, respectively.
The inflow in the Cauvery basin reservoirs was less this year on account deficient rainfall of 35 per cent in south-interior Karnataka (covering the old Mysore region). Against the normal rainfall 356 mm, the region received rainfall of 231 mm during the monsoon.
On account of severe drought, the Cauvery basin districts have not achieved the target of coverage of kharif crops. Crops covered 75 per cent of the targeted area in Mandya district, epicentre of the Cauvery agitation, as on September 30.
The normal coverage in Mandya district was 82 per cent.
Total acreage this year was 1.51 lakh hectares against 1.60 lakh hectares last year.
Against the target, acreage in Chamarajangar was 74 per cent. Total acreage this year was 1.27 lakh hectares against 1.56 lakh hectares last year.
Coverage of kharif corps in other Cauvey basin districts is Tumkur (70 per cent), Mysore (96), Chikmagalur (85), Ramagnaram (80), Hassan (93), Bangalore Rural (88), Bangalore Urban (86) and Kodagu (94 per cent), according to officials in the Agriculture Department.
The State has set a target at 34.5 lakh hectares for rabi season this year and the target would be achieved only if the farmers of the Cauvery basin are ensured water from the river Cauvery.
Last year rabi crops were sown on 30 lakh hectares against the target of 34.39 lakh hectares.