The controversial Yettinahole project aims to supply drinking water to districts of Hassan, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Bengaluru Rural.

Yettinahole project on Ktaka CM asks officials to expedite desilting of tanksFIle image of Netravatri
news Water Monday, August 06, 2018 - 19:48

To meet the water needs of the parched south-interior Karnataka which has been facing drought for several years, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy on Monday directed officials to speed up the desilting of 527 tanks within the purview of the controversial Yettinahole project.

The controversial Yettinahole project aims to supply drinking water to districts of Hassan, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Bengaluru Rural from the Yettinahole river water, which would otherwise drain into the Arabian Sea.

The government is hopeful that other than providing drinking water to these districts, the project will rejuvenate the depleted groundwater levels in these districts. The tanks lying under these districts will be filled by the channelised water.     

The Chief Minister in a meeting on Monday directed to appoint personnel immediately to the three posts of land acquisition officers, which have already been sanctioned. He also directed the officers to work out the modalities of acquiring land and distributing compensation to the land owners.  

Ramesh Kumar, Speaker of Legislative Assembly, Shivashankar Reddy, Minister for Agriculture, DK Shivakumar, Minister for Water Resources and Medical Education, Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, INS Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Department, District Commissioners of the districts concerned, MLAs and senior offices of Minor Irrigation Department and officers of Vishweshwaraiah Jala Nigama were present at the meeting.

Read: Water isn't infinite: Karnataka should take a hard look at how it uses its lifeline

The project was first proposed by the Dr. Paramashivaiah Committee that submitted its report in 1972. Paramashivaiah had recommended that 180 tmc out of the 2,000 tmc of water available through rainfall in the Western Ghats along with 80 tmc of water from the Krishna basin could solve the irrigation and drinking water problems of the rain-starved districts of south Karnataka.

The project has been flagged by environmentalists since its inception and has also been termed as too costly a project with limited efficiency. The project entails loss of forest cover and related ecological costs on the sensitive Western Ghats.

There has been opposition from residents in Dakshina Kannada as well where Netravati (of which Yettinahole is a tributary) is considered a lifeline.  

Officials at the Karnataka State Disaster Monitoring Centre also maintain there has been less than normal rainfall in south-interior Karnataka for the last two months after three successive drought years.

“Since crops are in a growing stage, agriculturalists in all these areas including rural Bengaluru will be affected. There will be also crisis in groundwater levels if the situation does not improve in the next two months,” an official said.

Chief Engineer of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has assured that there won’t be any shortfall in water supply for Bengaluru as the reservoirs fed by the Cauvery are in good shape.