Water scarcity
Mangaluru Mayor Kavitha Sanil said that drinking water will be supplied to the city once in 36 hours till May.
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The water crisis that has been anticipated with anxiety in drought-hit Karnataka has arrived in Mangaluru. With water levels depleting rapidly in the Thumbe and AMR dams, which supply drinking water to the city, civic agencies have decided to ration water from Monday onwards.

According to the Mayor of Mangaluru, Kavitha Sanil, drinking water will be supplied once in 36 hours in the Mangaluru City Corporation limits, till May.

“From 6am on Monday, water supply will be stopped and it will resume at 6 pm on Tuesday. If the catchment areas receive sufficient rainfall, then the rationing will be stopped.” she said.

Authorities report that inflow of water into the Thumbe dam has stopped completely, and the water level in the dam is at 4.15 metres, while its maximum capacity is 5 metres.

“With no inflow of water, the water may last for 20 days. Rainfall is expected in Subrahmanya and parts of Dakshina Kannada district by Sunday, and if Mangaluru area does not receive sufficient rainfall, water has to be rationed,” the Mayor said.

The water level in Shamboor’s AMR dam stands at 6.25 metres and the water may last for another 40 days as the inflow has stopped completely here as well, said City Corporation Commissioner, Mohammed Nazeer.

Deputy Commissioner Dr KG Jagadeesha said that, in the wake of the bleak water situation, the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited and the Special Economic Zone will not be allowed to draw water from the dam at Shamboor.

““The water level in AMR dam is decreasing at the rate of 15cm per day due to the usage by MRPL and the Special Economic Zone. This will cause water shortage. The MRPL and SEZ have been directed to stop lifting water from the dam, as there has been no inflow from the Netravati river. Two engineers from the Mangaluru City Corporation have been deployed at the AMR dam site along with a nodal officer from the Department of Minor Irrigation. Security guards will be deployed by Sunday to ensure that water is not lifted illegally,” the Deputy Commissioner said.

Beyond rationing, the city’s administration is also now taking measures to increase storage at the Thumbe dam to ensure that such crises can be handled in the future.

“We are planning to acquire around 445 acres of land for increasing the storage capacity of the Thumbe dam. In the initial stage, 100 acres will be acquired to facilitate storage up to 7 metres,” Mayor Sanil said.

A request has been sent to the Karnataka government, which has promised to set aside grants for providing compensation for farmers whose lands would be acquired, she said.

“In December 2016, the water storage level was increased to 5 metres and 31 acres of land were submerged. Ramanath Rai, the District In-charge Minister, on Saturday, promised to give Rs 7 crore compensation to the 21 farmers who lost their land,” she added.

The minister has also announced that a compensation amount of Rs 32 crore would be set aside for land acquisition for the new project aimed at increasing the dam’s storage capacity.

“The Rs 7 crore will be released by the end of this month. Following this, the city corporation will begin land acquisition for the new project,” the Mayor said.