BENGALURU: The Upper Bhadra project, which will benefit the drought-prone districts of Chitradurga, Davangere and Tumakuru, is in the final stages of receiving green clearance after approval from the state forest department. In the pipeline for the last three decades, the proposal for the Upper Bhadra Project (Package I and II), which has undergone a lot of modifications, is now before the standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife. The project entails diversion of water from Bhadra reservoir during monsoon from June to October.
The project involves the diversion of 96.65 hectares of forest land in Muthinakoppa minor forest and Aramballi state forest in Koppa division for construction of an irrigation canal under Package 1 in Shivamogga district. Under Package 2, it involves diversion of 110.10 hectare area of forest land in Bhadravathi division for the construction of a lift irrigation canal.
The chief wildlife warden has recommended the project for approval with the condition that the revised mitigation plan be prepared by the user agency in consultation with the forest department, wildlife experts and others. Apart from this, the National Tiger Conservation Authority too has recommended the project, however, it advised a series of mitigation measures. They include installing an underground closed canal system when passing within the boundary of Bhadra Tiger Reserve and rigorous monitoring of the large-scale abstraction of water for the project by both forest department and the user agency.
The Bhadra proposal
For three decades, the Upper Bhadra project has dragged on as earlier it was designed to build a dam across Bhadra river in Chikkamagaluru. The present proposal envisages lifting of 17.4 tmcft water under Package 1 from Tunga river to Bhadra reservoir and lifting of 29.9 tmcft of water under Package 2 from Bhadra reservoir to a tunnel near Ajjampura in Tungabhadra sub-basin of Krishna basin. This will provide micro-irrigation to 2.25 lakh hectares and also fill up 367 tanks to 50 per cent of their capacity in the drought-prone districts.