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.
The crest gates of the Kannambadi dam (Krishnarajasagar) are expected to be opened anytime and a flood warning has been issued to the people residing in low-lying areas adjoining the main course of the Cauvery. Villagers and tourists, along the course of the Kapila, have also been asked to stay away from the banks of the river. The Kabini and the Harangi reservoirs are also full and it is only a matter of time before the Hemavati reservoir too reaches the full reservoir level (FRL).
This is the first time in about a decade that the Krishnarajasagar has filled to the brim in the month of July, in just about seven weeks after the onset of the south-east monsoon. It should be noted that the water-level in the KRS remained at the maximum level for nearly three months continuously in August 2006 after a four year drought which preceded it.
Sources in the State government told The Hindu that the combined outflow from the Kabini dam and the KRS was around 31,000 cusecs and this would be further stepped up, if need be. At Biligundlu, the 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 the month of July, it has released 44.58 tmcft as on 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 presently being released at the rate of 8000 cusecs and this is expected to be further stepped up over the next 24 hours. The water-level in the dam was nearly 122 feet while the full level is 124.80 feet. In the normal course, the water-level will be maintained around 123 ft and the Irrigation Department has been empowered on opening and shutting the crest gates.
Of the 152 crest gates in the nearly 2.2 km length dam, the authorities are expected to open around 12 gates and may open more subject to the inflow into the reservoir. The catchment areas of the KRS have been receiving copious rains for nearly a week and rains have remained unabated.
Meanwhile, efforts are on to arrange a programme for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to offer ‘bagina’ at KRS. The heavy discharge from the reservoir is expected to result in the flooding of the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary. Karnataka had also pointed that Tamil Nadu has received more than 60 per cent of its monthly demand in the first two weeks of July.