Poor monsoon hits aquatic life in the Tungabhadra

Dwindling hope: A view of the dried up ancient ‘anicut’ built across the Tungabhadra by the Vijayanagar kings in Kenchanagudda.  

The failure of the monsoon directly impacts issues related to drinking water and agriculture. This year, however, the poor rainfall has had an adverse effect on aquatic life in the Tungabhadra.

The river, downstream of the dam in Hosapete in Ballari district, has run dry, thereby not only severely threatening aquatic life, but also cattle, other animals and birds, for which it was a prime source of drinking water.

The Tungabhadra is considered to be the lifeline of the drought-prone districts of Ballari, Koppal and Raichur and also Anantapur, Kurnool and Cuddapah districts in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The river is a habitat for a variety of aquatic life including smooth-coated otters, crocodiles, nearly four varieties of tortoise, a wide range of fish and wildlife too. Recently, the 34km stretch of the river from downstream of the dam to Kampli was declared an Otter Conservation Reserve.

“With the river running dry, there are reports of deaths of tortoises, crocodiles and fish. There are threats of losing the rare variety of aquatic life if water is not let into the river,” Samad Kottur, a wildlife activist and researcher, has said. “Crocodile burrows in marshy areas near Kenchanagudda, a well-known pilgrim centre in Sirguppa taluk where the Vijayanagar kings had built ‘anicut’ (barrage), have been exposed. We can see shells of dead tortoises too. Apart from this, there has been unbridled growth of weeds threatening the aquatic life,” Mr. Samad told The Hindu.

He has submitted a memorandum to the Tungabhadra Board authorities to release water into the river to not only save the aquatic life there. Flowing of water will help hatchlings of crocodiles and tortoises come out of the nests, he added.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 12:11:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/poor-monsoon-hits-aquatic-life-in-the-tungabhadra/article19404831.ece

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