Bengaluru, Sept. 7: Bengaluru, and the Cauvery basin, could be parched by the end of November, thanks to the Supreme Court order to release water to Tamil Nadu, which the Karnataka government has started to do, combined with a shortfall in monsoon rains over the Cauvery catchment area, experts have told OneIndia.
The state lifts 50 tmc-ft of water annually from the Krishna Raja Sagara Reservoir (KRS), both for drinking and agriculture, with Bengaluru alone accounting for 20 tmc-ft, and towns and villages in the Cauvery basin consuming some 30 tmc-ft for both drinking and agriculture.
Currently, though, the availability of water in the KRS is only 39 tmc-ft. Out of which, as per the Supreme Court order, Karnataka has to release 15,000 cusecs a day to Tamil Nadu for 10 days, that is 13.63 tmc-ft of water in all, or a full third of the water in the KRS today. The Siddaramaiah government has already released water for two days.
Former Chief Engineer of Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewage Board Krishnappa said the Supreme Court ruling has come as a big blow to the state, which is already water-distressed. "It's alarming that the court has ordered the state to release a third of the water available, scarce as it already is", Krishnappa said, adding that water level in the KRS could dip even further.
Much will depend on the north-east monsoon rains, expected next month. If there's good rain in the catchment area, as much as 20-30 tmc-ft of water could flow into the KRS. Still, even that best case scenario will leave south Karnataka water scarce, with the outflow to Tamil Nadu adding to the problem.
Bengaluru consumes about 1.625 tmc-ft of water every month, adding up to 20 tmc-ft for 12 months, a figure that does not take into account leakage.
The Cauvery basin, including Mysuru, Mandya, Ramanagara, T. Narasipura, etc., need six tmc-ft of water for drinking and 25-30 tmc-ft for agriculture.
"If it does not rain as predicted next month, Bengaluru will start to feel thirsty by the end of November, so will other parts in the Cauvery basin", Krishnappa said. "The next monsoon is 10 months away, and until then, the city will need at least 16.25 tmc-ft of water",