State Facing Worst Dry Spell in Years

Published: 27th August 2015 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2015 05:59 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Water is likely to be scarce in the coming months across Karnataka, according to the weather office.

The state is going through one of the worst spells of monsoon in the past decade, and reservoirs are still waiting to fill up. Meteorologists fear a severe shortage is imminent. However, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is optimistic it can manage adequate supply.

According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster and Monitoring Cell (KSNDMC), save South-Interior Karnataka, all parts of the state, including Malnad and the coast — prime catchment areas for rivers — have recorded deficient rainfall this year. A scientist at KSNDMC said rainfall in July was the lowest in 40 years. “Overall rainfall till the third week of August is also the lowest since 2000. The situation appears worse than in 2004 and 2012, when the state was hit by drought,” he said.

The problem is severe in North Karnataka, with districts such as Belagavi and Vijayapura recording over 60 per cent rain deficit. In other northern districts, the deficit is 35 per cent. A similar situation prevails in Malnad and on the coast, where the average deficit is 38 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.  On August 26, storage at the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir, which has a capacity of 49.45 tmcft, was 27.12. The reservoir had filled up till 47.83 tmcft during the same period last year.

Similarly, Almatti dam now has 68.95 tmcft, as against the full capacity of 123.08 tmcft. Almatti was full by August 26 last year.

Other major dams are filled to less than 50 per cent of last year’s level.

The inflow to the major dams is not encouraging.

Dry Spell

“From June 15 to the first week of August, not many regions received rainfall. It is one of the longest dry spells on record in the past five decades,” the scientist said.

Due to the length of the dry spell, the severity of drought will increase, he predicted. He said a weak monsoon was also caused by the El-Nino effect, which peaked this current year.

Farming Hit: Overall, agriculture has been affected, as crops such as onion, tur dal and groundnut haven’t been sown.

“These crops are sowed generally in the second fortnight of June. Since sowing has not taken place, their prices are seeing an upward spiral in the market,” he explained.

V Mahesh, chief engineer, BWSSB, expects good showers in September.

“Drinking water supply can be managed, even if the rainfall is relatively deficient,” he told Express.

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