BENGALURU: Certain parts of Karnataka have witnessed droughts year on year and water tables have receded in these places to worrying and economically unsustainable levels. One of the suggested solutions on which the Karnataka Government seems to be making tangible moves, is to link rivers.
Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi spoke to TNIE about this ambitious plan on Sunday. One of the projects that will be taken up is the linking of the Bedti river in Uttara Kannada district and the Varada river which originates in Sagar in Shivamogga district and flows towards Haveri and Ballari districts. Varada river flows east and joins the Tungabhadra river which eventually joins the river Krishna which flows towards Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Jarkiholi said the beneficiaries of this proposed interlinking will be Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. He said there are guidelines to take it up.He said, “Environmental studies will be taken up.’’ A central team had come some months earlier and taken the state’s opinion. Karnataka has given its consent. Another ambitious interlinking plan seeks to connect the Mahanadi river to the Godavari.
It envisages a diversion of the surplus flow of the Mahanadi basin and the Godavari basin to the water-starved Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery rivers. “When Karnataka was approached to sign, we asked them for details of the state’s share,” Jarkoholi said.
The matter is under correspondence. Jarkiholi explained, “We are planning to manage our water resources effectively by linking these rivers through a network of canals and reservoirs. It will help in recharging our groundwater and aquifers and even help in reducing floods.’’ The other project which has already started is the linking of Netravati and Cauvery rivers, Jarkiholi said. Netravati will be linked to the Vanivilas reservoir in Chitradurga and then connected to Hemavathi and Cauvery.
Experts explained that while continuous droughts and receding water tables have been a perennial problem in several parts of Karnataka, this could be one of the components of a larger solution being worked out.
Each one of these interlinking projects, once operational, will alleviate poverty and prevent drought across hundreds of dry stretches.