Thirsty days ahead as water levels plunge

March 15, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:43 am IST

Water levels in Almatti (above) and Krishnaraja Sagar (right)reservoirs have dipped much more than last year.— file photos

Water levels in Almatti (above) and Krishnaraja Sagar (right)reservoirs have dipped much more than last year.— file photos

A severe drinking water crisis looms large on Bengaluru and many parts of the State as storage levels plummeted in major reservoirs of Cauvery and Krishna basins this month.

Sources in the Water Resources Department said water levels plunged drastically even before the onset of summer. Major reservoirs in the Cauvery and Krishna basins showed storage dipping well below last year’s levels.

An indicator of the magnitude is that 137 taluks have been declared drought-hit this time, compared to 98 last year.

Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil said the department has stopped releasing water into canals for summer crops. Officials have been directed to not draw water for irrigation and industries. Yet, a large number of farmers have been lifting water from the rivers using IP sets. “Our priority is to ensure that water is available first for drinking and later for power generation,” Mr. Patil said.

In the Cauvery basin, the level in all four major reservoirs — Hemavati, Kabini, Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS), and Harangi — is lower than last year. Only 19.34 tmcft or about half of the total water is available from the four reservoirs against the 38.75 tmcft of water that was available on March 14, 2015.

On March 12, the storage in KRS was 10.88 tmcft compared to 22.99 tmcft exactly a year back.

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