BENGALURU: The spectre of drought looms large over Karnataka for another year, fourth in a row, with most parts of south interior Karnataka receiving deficient rainfall. Low water levels in reservoirs in the state have already raised an alarm. The state cabinet, which discussed the situation on Wednesday, has asked cabinet sub-committees related to agriculture, drinking water and other subjects to prepare contingency plans to face the impending crisis.
The monsoon failure is almost certain to hit Karnataka’s foodgrain production target of 130 lakh tonnes for the current year.
“Crops over vast swathes of land will wither if we don’t receive rains in the next one or two weeks across south interior Karnataka. The poor level of storage of water in our reservoirs in Cauvery and Tungabhadra basins leave no scope for releasing water for agriculture,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister TB Jayachandra said.
Plans are being drawn up for judicious use of water in the reservoirs and it would not be possible to release water for crops unless copious rains are received before end of August, he said. No reservoir in the state, excluding Almatti and Naryanapura, has filled to the brim. The available water in reservoirs of Cauvery basin would be reserved to meet drinking water needs, Jayachandra said.
Last year the state had declared 136 taluks as drought hit. If rains prove elusive in the next couple of weeks, the state government will have to identify taluks to be declared as drought hit.