BENGALURU: Bengaluru and Mysuru are in for difficult days ahead: drinking water stocks will last for just 60 days.
A failed monsoon has brought down the water levels at the Kabini reservoir to less than 6.4 tmc ft. This is the main source of drinking water for Bengaluru, Chamrajanagar, Kollegal, parts of Mysuru. The dam also supplies water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
The level at the reservoir, which stood at 2,275 ft (max 2,284 ft) on March 8, 2015, touched 2,260 ft on Tuesday.
A water-scarce summer is certain if the catchment areas fail to get pre-monsoon showers by April. A full-fledged monsoon arriving early, at least by the end of May, would also help.
Farming has come to a standstill, with the Irrigation Department deciding to stop supply from the Kabini for semi-dry or irrigation crops. The authorities need to discharge 1 tmcft every 10 days for drinking. The Kabini catchment in Wayanad, which usually receives rainfall till October, did not get any rain after June last year. That resulted in faster depletion of reservoir stocks.
Sources told Express the situation was grim, with water level the KRS reservoir dipping to 90.94 ft as against 105.56 ft during the corresponding period last year (max 124.8 ft).
The KRS, which had 120.90 tmcft this time last year, is left with just 14 tmcft, including dead storage. The agriculture and irrigation authorities have banned commerical crops like sugarcane in the Cauvery achukat, citing a poor monsoon and fall in reservoir levels.
BWSSB paints a rosy picture
BWSSB officials maintain that Bengaluru will not face any problem. BWSSB Chairman T M Vijay Bhaskar told Express that they had requested KRS authorities to store water for Bengaluru. “We need 1.5 tmcft of water a month. With KRS having 16 tmcft water, there will be no drinking water problem in Bengaluru,” he said.
He noted that last year, there was average rain in Bengaluru that has recharged the city’s borewells to some extent.