BENGALURU: After studying the pollution and water quality of the river Ganga, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, through the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST), will undertake a study of 13 Indian rivers, including the Krishna. It is the first time that a study of the Krishna is being undertaken. The idea is to ascertain the ground reality along the river path, the loss of natural forest cover, area under cultivation, usage of water and dependence on the river for other work.
IWST has envisaged a year-long project in Karnataka. As part of the project, the first stakeholders’ consultation meeting was held on Thursday with officials from IWST, forest and other departments. IWST director MP Singh told TNIE that this was also the first time IWST was carrying out the study. He said it was found that the riparian forest along the river, especially the plains, have been lost. Instead, a lot of agricultural crops and sugarcane can be seen.
The riparian forest is essential as it acts as a sponge and water-holding source. Unlike the Ganga, where water comes from the glaciers, the Krishna and other South Indian rivers are dependent on the monsoons.
Preparation of a detailed project report will help understand forest cover and land use pattern, after which a detailed report will be submitted to the ministry and state government.
This will play a deciding factor in future projects planned by the Karnataka government. A report on where the riparian forest should come up, and how, will also be suggested. Despite the river flowing through the state, people are dependent on groundwater, which is a matter of worry, he said. The DPR proposes forestry intervention by four participating states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The Krishna river is one of the important east-flowing peninsular rivers. It is the fourth largest river in India after the Ganga, Godavari and Brahmaputra. It originates in the Western Ghats, at Mahabaleshwar in Satara district of Maharashtra, and after traversing 1,435km, empties into the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna basin occupies an area of 2.58 lakh sqkm -- nearly 44% lies in Karnataka, 26% of the basin falls in Maharashtra, about 15% in Telangana and another 14% in Andhra Pradesh.