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Karnataka water crisis: Bengaluru, surrounding districts face imminent threat as reservoirs dwindle to 10%

Water levels in Karnataka's reservoirs have plummeted to just 10.83% capacity, raising concerns about water scarcity in Bengaluru and surrounding districts. Compared to the previous year, there's been a drastic 45-46% decrease in storage. Failure of a sand barrier project has worsened the situation, leading to protests and disruptions in water supply.

Karnataka water crisis: Bengaluru, surrounding districts face imminent threat as reservoirs dwindle to 10% vkp
First Published Apr 30, 2024, 1:25 PM IST

Water levels in Karnataka's reservoirs have drastically fallen to just 10.83 per cent of capacity due to insufficient rainfall and increased temperatures. This marks a significant drop, posing a severe threat to the water supply across several districts, including Bengaluru.

As of now, 22 reservoirs in the state hold a mere 57.62 Thousand metric cubic feet (TMC) of water, excluding dead storage. A major portion of this, 47.19 TMC, is contained in non-Krishna reservoirs, while only 10.43 TMC is available in key reservoirs that serve as the primary water source for drinking and daily use in four to five districts, including Bengaluru. This supply must last until the monsoon season begins, adding to the state's water woes.

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Comparative figures from the previous year paint a grim picture. On April 29, 2023, the reservoirs had 124.99 TMC of water, indicating that the current levels are 45.77 TMC lower. This represents a staggering 45 to 46 per cent decrease in water storage compared to last year.

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The crisis has sparked outrage among local farming communities, who have seen their livelihoods severely impacted. Leaders from various farmers' organizations have demanded immediate action against municipal officials for their alleged failure to construct an effective sand barrier near the Mudenur Tungabhadra river jack well. This project was critical for maintaining the water flow, which is essential for both agriculture and urban supply.

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The situation escalated when the water supply to the city was cut off after the newly built barrier failed to collect water due to what has been described as unscientific planning and substandard execution by the municipal council's technical staff.

In response to the severe shortage and subsequent protests, which included blocking the national highway near Makanur Cross, the government released two TMCs of water from Bhadra Dam to the Tungabhadra River. Unfortunately, due to the barrier's inadequacies, this emergency supply was quickly depleted.

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