Karnataka is severely drought hit, and this is no longer a disaster waiting to happen. It’s happening, the nightmare situation is here.
The state’s largest reservoir - Almatti Dam in Bagalkot - has reached the dead storage level, and has set a record for lowest water level in the state.
According to officials managing the reservoir, the dead storage level of the dam is 17.62 TMC. The dam reached this level on February 28.
As of Saturday, the live storage capacity - the water that can be rightfully used from the dam - is 0 TMC.
The inflow of water in the dam: 0 cusecs.
But the total outflow each day is 1,370 cusecs.
So how do the authorities plan to manage? By dipping into the dead storage - the water that should not be drawn from the dam as doing so could affect the structure.
“Unlike the Krishna Raja Sagar dam, he Almatti dam is strong enough to withstand water being drawn from dead storage,” an official managing the dam claimed, even as another official told TNM that drawing water may tamper with the life of the dam.
“Although the Almatti dam is built to withstand water being drawn from dead storage, it is only temporarily feasible. Pumping water from dead storage may alter the lower strata of the dam and may also alter the dam’s life,” the official said.
The water level went down on February 28, after they released 2.7 TMC water to Maharashtra. “We have stopped releasing 10,000 cusecs per day due to water shortage,” an official told TNM.
Almatti caters to the Bagalkot and Bijapur districts and is Karnataka’s largest reservoir. The dam, which is a part of the Upper Krishna Project, was opened in 2005.
“The dam was built to cater to irrigation needs, but due to severe drought the water is being supplied for drinking water now, especially since December. Currently 70 cusecs of water is being released from the dam to cater to drinking water needs,” the official added.
Dam officials say that they may have to resort to rationing water to residents in the region and are mulling over bringing in stringent rules for water usage in the region to check wastage.