Karnataka

Prolonged monsoon revives waterholes in Bandipur

The critical months tend to be February and March by when a majority of the waterholes dry up, resulting in severe stress for animals.  

Prolonged monsoon and unseasonal rains as late as in November has helped rejuvenate the waterholes in Bandipur, most of which are full to the brim.

This is expected to help wild animals beat water stress and tide over the greater part of the scorching summer that has already set in and will last till pre-monsoon showers lash the national park normally in mid-May.

There are 370 big and small waterholes in Bandipur and 85% of them are full, while a few smaller ones have witnessed depletion.

The critical months tend to be February and March by when a majority of the waterholes dry up, resulting in severe stress for animals scouring for fodder and water. But this year, the depletion of water levels will take a little longer owing to late showers.

T. Balachandra, Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, told The Hindu that they do not foresee any severe water crisis this year as major water sources are full. In areas of water stress, solar-powered borewells will help replenish the tanks.

“There are 37 solar-powered borewells that will function to replenish the waterholes periodically so that the water stress is minimised,” he added.

The solar-powered borewells have been installed in areas of high animal density and have come in handy as sunlight will keep the pumps on during the day to ensure adequate supply that will fill up the waterholes. The water table in the 874 sq km national park is not constant and varies across different ranges and the location of the borewells are based on water availability and requirement of wildlife. Mr. Balachandra said though the fire season was on and summer had set in, there were still patches of greenery and moisture as a result of which summer may not be long drawn this season.

Similarly, in the distant M.M. Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, there are around 100 waterholes apart from two rivers — Cauvery and Palar — of which the Cauvery is perennial while the flow in Palar is expected to last till the end of March. “Though we don’t expect severe water stress for animals this year, about 10 solar-powered pump sets have been installed, some of which are required for our anti-poaching camps,” said V. Yedukondalu, Deputy Conservator of Forests, M.M. Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.

He said the water pumped to the anti-poaching camps are also being flown to the waterholes to ensure that they are replenished. Besides, there are three ranges — Hugyam, M.M. Hills and Palar — in M.M. Hills division, which received rains recently and so the onset of water distress will be delayed and shorten the days of scarcity, said Mr. Yedukondalu.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 12:20:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/prolonged-monsoon-revives-waterholes-in-bandipur/article30720908.ece

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