Even as there is a renewed interest in the much talked-about Paschimavahini (tapping the waters of the west-flowing rivers in the coast for drinking and irrigation), it appears the project is still far away even from conceptual stage.
While Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim said there was no official report yet on the shape and nature of the project, academic circles and environmentalists are keen to know what the project is all about.
Lately, the project was brought to the limelight when the Chief Whip for the Opposition in the Legislative Council Ganesh Karnik said that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had promised that it would be implemented.
The former Mangaluru City South MLA N. Yogish Bhat told The Hindu that he had prepared a report during his tenure as the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 2013 and it was estimated that the project would require about Rs. 700 crore. He said the project envisaged building check-dams across streams of 13 rivers in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts so that a part of the water flowing into the sea is stored and used in summer months for irrigation and supplying drinking water. The drinking water problem could be solved permanently through this, he said.
S.G. Mayya, who recently retired as Professor with Department of Applied Mechanics and Hydraulics, NITK and specialises in Water Resources Engineering and Management, said the project should be given a comprehensive view. Entire basin of the river has to be taken as one unit and studied for parameters such as quantum of water available in different areas, the demand and how they are co-related with the flow, so that check dams at the estuary and at the top most region can maintain the water required for summer months.
Environmental activist Dinesh Holla, who has been fighting against the diversion of the Nethravati, said the name of Paschimavahini project was taken every now and then only to divert the attention of people from the impending disaster the diversion project would cause to the region. The Nethravati, the only source of drinking water, would dry up, he said, and added that the Paschimavahini project had hardly any benefit for Dakshina Kannada.
There is no proposal prepared by the district. No communication has come from the State government.
Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner
Tapping water where it falls is the only, and best alternative.
Environmentalist and Executive Editor of Adike Patrike, a farm magazine
Paschima-vahini raked up only to divert the attention of people from the dangerous Yettinahole project.
Ad-hocism will not work. River basin should be treated as a unit if the project is to work.
Retired NITK professor specialising in water management
No concrete plan or concept-paper in place yet
Plans to build check-dams across the 13 rivers and streams in Western Ghats
A 2013 estimation put the cost at Rs. 700 crore