Compared to 2016, the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin, as of Monday had half of the water it had in previous year on same date

Despite normal monsoon Karnatakas water situation worse than 2016 Water MinisterRepresentational Image: PTI
news Water Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 14:12

A deficient southwest monsoon has not helped the state of Karnataka to address its water woes especially after facing three consecutive drought years.

In fact, compared to 2016, the state is facing a more severe crisis, despite the Indian Meteorological Department forecasting a “normal monsoon” in April.

Compared to 2016, the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin--KRS, Kabini, Harangi and Hemavathi, as of Monday had half of the water it had in the previous year on the same date. The storage in north Karnataka reservoirs are slightly better, Karnataka Water Resources Minister MB Patil, told reporters on Monday.

“Last year, the state was considered to be reeling under its worst drought during the last 40 years. The total storage in the four reservoirs of Cauvery basin stood at 57.89 tmcft this date last year. However, today, the combined storage level stands at 26 tmcft, less than half compared to last year,” Patil said.

The minister added that water won’t be released for agricultural purposes in order to ensure drinking water supply to Bengaluru until there is an improvement in the storage in these reservoirs.

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award mandating that the state should release 44 tmcft in the months of June and July to Tamil Nadu could not be met either, the minister added.

“Right now a small quantum of water is being released to Tamil Nadu depending on the inflows into the reservoirs. We hope the situation will improve with copious rains in the coming days to enable the state to increase the discharge to Tamil Nadu,” the minister said.

The government is also considering to try cloud seeding if the situation does not improve in the next two weeks, the minister added.

Read: Karnataka wants to try cloud seeding, but will it work? Past experience has not been good

Patil also clarified that the state has not released any water from the Mahadayi river to the Malaprabha basin, stating there have been instances of misreporting on the issue.

He warned misreporting on the issue could trigger massive unrest.

On the positive side, in an interview with ET Now, IMD DG KJ Ramesh said that rainfall in Karnataka along with coastal Andhra in the coming days will improve the rainfall distribution.