After a 10-year delay, the Karnataka cabinet had finally approved the construction of a balancing reservoir along Tungabhadra river in Navali village as the state was losing out a lot of its share of water due to the silt accumulated in the Tungabhadra dam.
The state government on Sunday gave its nod to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) to construct the Navali Balancing Reservoir.
Karnataka Niravari Nigam Limited has been asked to prepare the DPR. We have worked out a new plan to address the storage problems of Tungabhadra reservoir due to the accumulation of silt in the reservoirâ€™s bed. This has resulted in less storage of water in the dam. Keeping this in view, the state cabinet has accorded permission to prepare the DPR to build Navali Balancing reservoir, Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi said.
The storage capacity of the Tungabhadra reservoir is 134.7 TMC water. However, due to mismanagement, the dam was never desilted since it was constructed in 1953. Due to the excessive silt accumulation, the storage capacity of the reservoir has reduced by 31 TMC.
According to Manjappa, executive engineer of the Tungabhadra dam, the dam management authorities had to desilt the dam every year. Each year 0.5% silt gets accumulated. Since desilting has never been done, there is so much silt that entire villages would have to be acquired to dump the silt that is removed, Manjappa said.
In 2017, the state government had called for global tenders to determine the feasibility of desilting the dam. Manjappa says the feasibility report stated that the project would cost Rs 5600 crore and it would require 67,000 hectares of land to dump the silt extracted from the dam.
Due to this herculean task, none of the tenders floated by the government were taken up by companies. In 2010, global tenders were floated and two companies had submitted a desilting plan. However, the companies backed off due to technical and financial reasons. In 2012, a Kochi-based company, which had won the tender to desilt the dam, backed out of the project just a few weeks before the desilting process was to begin. A senior official with the Water Resources Department said that over the years, many tenders were floated and due to the logistical and financial difficulties, none of the companies were willing to take up the task.
In 2017, farmers of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha had decided to begin desilting the dam themselves. The farmers had begun the process too. By the end of 2017, the state government held meetings with farmer associations and promised to construct a balancing reservoir. In order to utilise Karnatakaâ€™s share of water, the state government is planning to construct the Navali Dam in Koppala district.
â€śI thank Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa for approving the project. Directions have been issued to release Rs 14.30 crore towards preparation of the DPR. Desiltation of the dam has been pending for many years, and Yediyurappa has taken up this cause to help farmers for agriculture purposes,â€ť Minister Jarkiholi added.