MYSURU: Farmers and residents of Cauvery basin were in for a rude shock as the apex court, hearing the Cauvery issue, directed Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till July 11 even as water level in the reservoirs are far below live storage.
This untimely direction has worried irrigation officials and the government when there is no adequate water to meet the drinking water needs of Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and other towns.
The wild animals are also hit as the Cauvery river and its tributaries are almost dry. Dried up waterholes have resulted in deaths of more than seven elephants in the last couple of months.
The drought served as fuel to forest fire in Bandipur, Nagarhole and Biligi Riranganathaswamy wildlife sanctuary.
Irrigation officials have come under strong criticism from the farming community for denying water to standing crops and giving the same to Tamil Nadu as per the apex court interim order. They are worried as the region has not received summer showers.
The reservoirs that have fallen to dead storage are left with 10.5 tmc ft of water; in KRS, Kabini, Harangi and Hemavathi reservoirs. Mandya villages are pressing for release of water for Ugadi festival.
Farmers are strongly opposing taking water from dead storage level.
They fear that any attempt to release water from reservoirs at this juncture would put Bengalureans, Mysoreans and people of Cauvery basin in a lot of difficulty.
They fear that the release of water to comply with the Supreme Court direction would trigger a wave of protests in the region.