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Farmers concerned as Chiklihole reservoir in Kodagu dries up months ahead of summer

Kodagu's Chiklihole reservoir faces alarming dryness, unusually depleted months before summer, causing distress among locals and farmers. Concerns arise for drinking water, irrigation, wildlife, and investments like fish farming, with fears of silt accumulation adding to future uncertainties.

Farmers concerned as Chiklihole reservoir in Kodagu dries up months ahead of summer vkp
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First Published Nov 23, 2023, 11:20 AM IST

Farmers and locals in Kodagu district are voicing deep concerns as the Chiklihole reservoir, typically sustained by six months of rainfall, is experiencing alarming dryness much earlier than expected. Known for its scenic beauty resembling a miniature Niagara Falls when full, the reservoir has now reached a critical low, leaving visible patches of submerged trees and previously submerged pits exposed.

Despite being a hilly district accustomed to abundant rainfall, this year's precipitation was notably sparse, with only sporadic showers in July and August. Consequently, the reservoirs, including the 0.18 TMC capacity Chiklihole reservoir in Kushalanagar taluk, failed to fill adequately. By the end of March, typically a period with ample water due to heavy Kodagu rainfall, the reservoirs were significantly depleted.

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The current state of the Chiklihole reservoir, now nearly dried up, is causing distress among both local inhabitants and farmers who rely on it for their livelihoods. Villages like Rangasamudra, Kambibane, Valnur Thyagattur, and several others, previously dependent on the reservoir for drinking water and irrigation during summer crops, are facing uncertainty.

Moreover, the adverse effects extend beyond human reliance; the diminishing water levels pose threats to the wildlife inhabiting the surrounding forest areas, disrupting their access to a crucial water source. Concerns heighten considering the potential challenges wildlife might face in the coming months.

The predicament has hit farmers particularly hard, with one individual reportedly investing in fish farming by releasing 5 lakh fish fry into the Chiklihole reservoir. Now faced with the reservoir's rapid depletion, the farmer stands at a significant loss after spending thousands on the venture.

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This premature drying of the reservoir, occurring four months ahead of the usual summer scarcity, raises significant apprehension among farmers and locals. Notably, the fear lingers that if the reservoir accumulates silt during summer, it might lead to further complications. Farmer Mohan Kumar expressed worries about the rapid decline, attributing it to silt accumulation hindering the reservoir's water retention capacity.

The unsettling situation in November signals potential challenges ahead, prompting apprehensions about the months to come, particularly in March and April. The unexpected depletion of this vital water source has sparked widespread concern, prompting locals and farmers alike to brace themselves for potential hardships in the near future.

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