BENGALURU: For the first time in more than a decade, reservoirs in the Cauvery command area are expected to fill up by the end of July. As of Friday evening, Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir in Mandya was just 3 ft short of its full capacity of 124.8 ft at 121.4 ft. The inflow into the reservoir continued to be in excess of 30,000 cusecs. At this rate, KRS is expected to reach its full reservoir level by early next week, official sources said.
Meanwhile, owing to surging water levels, alerts have been issued to areas downstream to prevent any untoward incident. After three years of strife between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the Cauvery water-sharing due to consecutive drought years, the downpour is likely to lead the two states to bury the hatchet for a few more months at least.
Another matter to cheer, especially for farmers, is that the embargo against growing water-intensive crops such as paddy will be lifted if rainfall continues at the same rate, according to officials from Agriculture Department. Yet, a few experts are wary of a possible dry spell, which has caused havoc after good spells of rainfall in the past. Apart from it, the disparity in the distribution of rainfall, which was poor especially in north Karnataka districts, has already caused worry for farmers cultivating rain-fed crops.
Though parts of the state received excess rainfall over the past one-and-a-half month, rainfall was well within the variability of monsoon observed in the past few years, said G S Bhat, chairman, Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science. “For the last several years, we have been on a deficient side. This year, we have excess rainfall,” he said.
He said that fluctuations in total rainfall received during the period was normal. Quoting the example of Bengaluru Urban district, he said that while the district received a minimum of 650 mm rainfall, it could go up to 1,500 to 1,700 mm. S S M Gavaskar, scientist, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Cell, said that widespread rainfall is forecast to continue in malnad and south interior Karnataka.
“There has been a good inflow into almost all reservoirs in the state. In some places, alerts have been issued for people residing in low-lying areas,” he said.
After struggling for three consecutive years to release water to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka appears to be on course to fulfil its water commitment to the neighbouring state. Between June 1 and July 12, Karnataka has released 28.08 tmcft of water. As per the new water sharing agreement, Karnataka has to release 40.43 tmcft to Tamil Nadu by July 31