Environmentalists oppose plan to draw water from Linganamakki

They fear proposed project would result in large-scale destruction of forests

The move to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) on providing drinking water to Bengaluru from Linganamakki reservoir has evoked strong opposition in Malnad region.

In a meeting held in Bengaluru on June 20, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara had directed officials to prepare a DPR on bringing water from Linganamakki reservoir to Bengaluru. The total live storage capacity of Linganamakki reservoir constructed across the Sharavathi river in Shivamogga district is at 151 tmcft. It is the source of water for the Sharavathi hydel power project that has an installed capacity to generate 1,469 MW power. Linganamakki reservoir is located at a distance of 430 km from Bengaluru.

Speaking to The Hindu, Na. D’Souza, novelist and environmentalist, said the rainfall in the catchment areas of the Sharavathi has been declining in recent years owing to rapid deforestation. The water level in Linganamakki, constructed in 1964, has reached the brim only on 15 occasions, he said.

Expressing apprehension that the proposed project would result in large-scale destruction of forests for drawing pipelines, for digging canals, or construction of jack-wells, he said since the forests in Sharavathi valley is home to rare varieties of flora and fauna, any activity that would damage the fragile ecology of the region should not be allowed.

Mr. D’Souza said fishing forms the main occupation of a large number of families in the villages located on the banks of the Sharavathi from Gerusoppa to Honnavar in Uttara Kannada district. The implementation of the project may result in a decline in the flow of water in the river and have an adverse impact on the aquatic life, he said.

Questioning the viability of the project, Akhilesh Chipli, Sagar-based environmentalist, said that a large quantum of power is needed to pump water from Linganamakki to Bengaluru. Moreover, huge amounts had to be invested for drawing pipelines and construction of jackwells, and the project was not economically viable. Instead of spending so much, local solutions for the drinking water problem in Bengaluru should be found, such as prompting the people to take up rainwater harvesting and rejuvenate the water bodies there, he said.

Regarding the drinking water crises in Hosanagar and Sagar taluks that form the catchment areas of Linganamakki reservoir, Mr. Chipli said that water was supplied through tankers this summer for as many as 136 villages in these taluks. The drinking water woes of the villages in Malnad taluks should be addressed before drawing up plans for the project, he said.

On Thursday, H. Halappa, Sagar MLA, submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and to Dr. Parameshwara against drawing water from Linganamakki for Bengaluru. Environmental and progressive organisations have convened a meeting in Sagar city on Saturday for a discussion on launching a struggle to oppose the proposed project.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:50:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/environmentalists-oppose-plan-to-draw-water-from-linganamakki/article28103670.ece

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