Karnataka is feeling the pinch of summer with water levels in most dams touching a new low. Only 155 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of live storage is left in 13 major reservoirs. The stock is only 18.8 per cent of the total storage capacity of 825 tmcft.
Reservoirs like Hemavathi in Hassan district, Tungabhadra in Koppal, Ghataprabha and Malaprabha in Belagavi are the worst hit, according to data by the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC).
A KSNDMC official said the water levels in dams of north Karnataka, which is already reeling under the pressure of successive droughts, are a matter of concern.
Water levels in dams of Cauvery basin tell a different story. KRS dam has only 16 per cent of the total storage capacity and the situation in Kabini (23 per cent), Harangi (14 per cent) and Hemavathi (10 per cent) is also similar. “The situation in south Karnataka is comparatively better. Given the present storage, there won’t be any problem for drinking water for Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mandya which are dependent on KRS dam. However, ensuring water for standing crops in the river basin is a challenge,” an official said.
North Karnataka pins hope on Maharashtra water
The inflow to these dams has become nil for a few weeks. Early monsoon can save districts dependent on these dams from a crisis. North Karnataka is pinning hopes on release of water from Maharashtra,” a KSNDMC official said.
With water levels depleting, generation of hydro-power will also be a tough ask in the coming weeks.
Live storage in a dam is the water that can be released for irrigation, flood control and to generate electricity. On the other hand, dead storage refers to critical water stock that cannot be released through gates, but needs to be pumped out. Dead storage is used only during extreme situations like severe drinking water shortage.