MYSURU: Already reeling under a series of farmer suicides, the Siddaramaiah government is in for trouble from riparian state Tamil Nadu.
With poor rainfall in the Cauvery and Kabini catchment areas, it is now certain the government will run into a water-sharing dispute with Tamil Nadu in the coming months.
The dispute had cooled off after the Siddaramaiah government came to power two years ago, thanks to the benevolence of the rain gods. The reservoirs were full and allowed Karnataka to release more water than prescribed by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
However, scant rainfall and failure of the monsoon in Kodagu and Wayanad have hit farming, and standing crops in the Cauvery basin are drying up.
If reservoirs don’t fill up, Mysuru, Bengaluru and other towns in the Cauvery basin will face a drinking water shortage. The storage of KRS reservoir was 105.30 ft as against 121.50 ft last year. Its maximum capacity is 124 ft. The level is now second lowest in ten years.
The Kabini reservoir is showing 2,281 ft as against 2,282.25 ft last year. Bhagamandala in Kodagu received 2,373 mm rainfall in July last year. This year, it has received just 977 mm. Kodagu received 1,300 mm in June and caused a rise in the KRS levels. The peak season has ended, but the catchment may still receive rains in August, September and October, said Honappa, who records rainfall in Bhagamandala.
Drought in Mysuru
Mysuru district received good rainfall in May and June but overall, it has just received 35 per cent of the normal rainfall. The district, with an average of 123 mm, has received just 39 mm in July. Though, sowing has been completed in 95 per cent of the area, the dry spell has affected the germination of seeds and sowing after pulse harvesting.
According to Agriculture joint director Mahantheshappa, the dry spell has affected cotton and tobacco crops. Farmers may suffer huge losses if the region doesn’t get rains within a week.
Nageshraj, a farmer, is afraid tobacco and cotton growers are headed for more difficult times. Mysuru district has witnessed 20 farmer suicides, and neighbouring Mandya has recorded the highest number for any district: 35. The situation in the Kabini catchment is not encouraging either, as the Wayanad region has received 40 per cent less rainfall than last year. jaya submits