Sharath S. Srivatsa
Water in the reservoir usually touches this level by the second week of June
MYSORE: The early onset of the south-west monsoon in the State this year has created a record of sorts with the water-level in the Krishna Raja Sagar reservoir reaching nearly 90 ft against the maximum level of 124 ft in the first week of June itself.
The water-level in the reservoir, which was 80.5 ft on May 30, touched 93.55 ft on June 3 owing to copious rainfall in the catchment area, including Kodagu district in the last one week.
During the same period, the reservoir has gained over seven tmcft of water. The water-level of the reservoir reaches the 90-ft mark by the second or third week of June if the monsoon is normal and by the first or second week of July if the monsoon is weak. The reservoir level on June 2, 2005 was 70.64 ft and on the same day in 2004, the water-level was 78.8 ft.
Sources in the Irrigation Department told The Hindu that only once since 1984 has the water-level in KRS reservoir stood above 90 ft in the first week of June.
In June 1997 the water-level was 91 ft when water supply to the Visvesvaraya Canal was stopped as canal-strengthening work was taken up that year.
Officials said the increase in water-level during the last four days could be partly attributed to water supply being stopped to the irrigation canals.
The valves of the Visvesvaraya Canal, the Left Bank Low Level Canal and the Right Bank Low Level canal had been turned off since May 31, which had prevented flow of nearly 3,500 cusecs of water to these irrigation canals.
Managing Director of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam K.R. Srinivas told The Hindu there was good storage in the reservoir owing to proper water management.
The early rain in the Cauvery basin has created a paradoxical situation in the Cauvery basin.
Every year, heated words are exchanged between farmers and Irrigation Department officials this time of the year over the release of water to irrigation canals. However, this year farmers have requested Irrigation Department officials to stop release of water from KRS reservoir to the canals as rain has set in early.
Sources said farmers may not require water till July 15 and the volume of water to be released to irrigation canals for the next season would be decided during the irrigation consultative committee meeting.
Sources said in case the monsoon weakens later, problems over sharing of water with Tamil Nadu may arise.