‘Yettinahole project is unscientific, govt. should encourage harvesting’

Nagesh Hegde, columnist, said on Thursday that the Yettinahole project, also called the Netravati River Diversion Project, is an unscientific one that will bring little respite to the parched districts of south Karnataka.

He was delivering a special lecture on ‘Water Crisis, Cauvery, Mahadayi etc: How do we resolve?’, organised by the Centre of Gandhian and Peace Studies, a constituent of Manipal University, and Adelphi, Berlin.

Mr. Hegde said that huge pipes have been dumped on nearly 80 acres of paddy-growing fields for implementing the project, and every scientific study has shown that it will not provide much water to the parched districts of the southern parts of the State.

The weather data has not been taken, nor has the rainfall in the area been measured. The amount of water that might get evaporated also has not been measured, he said.

He said the change in crop pattern was responsible for the drying up of water resources in Kolar. The farmers there started growing eucalyptus instead of their traditional crops such as mulberry and ragi, which did not require more water. They also started cultivating more vegetables to sell them to the nearby cities. They started exporting sand from the rivers in the region. There was also reckless use of water from the waterbodies. All this was done for commercial reasons and thus the state of affairs, he said.

Now, Yettinahole water has to be diverted to make up for the shortage. The more sensible thing, Mr. Hegde said, would be to ensure that Chikkaballapur district gets its own water. It is essential to encourage water harvesting and water conservation techniques in the parched districts of south Karnataka, he said.

A problem the world over

He added that reckless use of water is a problem in many parts of the world. Freshwater availability is going down in many parts of the world, including India. Many countries will be facing water scarcity within a couple of decades if the current pattern of water usage continues, he warned.

The lower riparian States or countries enjoy more rights over water than the upper riparian ones. But there is always pressure to save water. Besides reckless exploitation of natural resources, there has been an increase in the per capita use of water over the years, he said.

“We have disrupted the hydrological cycle and this will have an impact on global warming. It is essential to create more awareness of water conservation techniques among people,” Mr. Hegde said.

Varadesh Hiregange, director of the centre, and Unni Krishnan K., associate professor, Centre for Cultural and Creative Studies, were present.

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