MYSURU: The Chikkahole and Suvarnavathi minor irrigation reservoirs on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border are likely to go dry, not just because of the continued dry spell and scanty rainfall. The water level in the reservoirs has already heavily depleted. With the neighbouring state constructing dozens of check dams and mini-dams in the catchment area falling under Talwandi of Erode district there, the reservoirs are in danger of going completely dry.
This has worried the farming community in the backward Chamrajnagar district as they fear that the drying-up of the reservoirs will severely affect drinking water supply and irrigation activities. Karnataka built the reservoirs in 1977 taking into consideration the inflow from the catchment area of Talwandi. The construction of the reservoirs across the National Highway between Chamarajnagar and Sathyamanagalam also improved the groundwater table and expanded irrigation activities as rain in Dimbam, Thalamalai and Talawadi regions in Tamil Nadu filled up both reservoirs.
As the Cauvery water-sharing dispute strained relations between the riparian states, the Tamil Nadu government constructed dozens of check dams and mini dams in Kodipura, Thalamali, Nithapura, Egalur, Chikkahalli, Marur, Malajanapura and other villages in drought-hit areas. Tamil Nadu completed construction of check dams quietly to ensure that water is stored there instead of reaching the Chikkahole and Suvarnavathi reservoirs.
The Chikkahole reservoir used to fill up whenever Talwandi catchment area received heavy downpour. The overflowing water would then flow into the Suvarnavathi reservoir. However, despite good rainfall for a couple of weeks in Tamil Nadu, not a drop has flown into Chikkahole reservoir. The farmers blame the callousness of the officials for this problem as neither the state government, local politicians nor officials questioned Tamil Nadu when it started constructing the mini dams and check dams.
The farmers want the authorities to take up the issue with Tamil Nadu to stop it from further construction of tanks and check dams in the catchment area. An irrigation department official said there were attempts to visit and study the construction of mini-dams in the catchment area and its impact on Chikkahole and Suvarnavathi reservoirs, but this did not happen due to non co-operation of officials of Tamil Nadu.