Abundant monsoon for some, drought for others in Karnataka

The water levels in the reservoirs, which is the main source of water for Bengaluru, have risen enough to meet water requirements in the city upto June

While Karnataka as a whole received normal rainfall, certain pockets in central and north Karnataka faced drought conditions where villagers were struggling to cope with the lack of drinking water. Representational image: iStock

The city of Bengaluru is expected to face lesser water shortage issues and has witnessed a rise in water levels at reservoirs after receiving heavy rainfall (88 mm) on April 28 and 29.

The pre-monsoon rainfall was normal until last week. However, the rainfall over the last two days pushed the amount of rainfall received during the season to the excess category.

G S Srinivasa Reddy, Director of the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, said the two-day rains could benefit those having rainwater harvesting systems in place.

“The city received about 88 mm of rain overnight. A house on 30*40 plots could have collected 5,000-6,000 litres of rainwater. It’s enough for a small family to sustain for a week,” he said.

The city also witnessed 119 mm of rainfall over March and April, which is about 165% more than the average expected rainfall.

Taluk-wise rainfall in Karnataka from April 1, 2020 to April 29, 2020. Source: Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre

Experts say the city faced lesser water problems compared to last year due to the amount of rainfall it received. The water levels in the reservoirs, which is the main source of water for Bengaluru, had also risen enough to meet water requirements in the city upto June. Furthermore, the groundwater tables too had been recharged well with the pre-monsoon showers.

Reddy added that the reservoirs in the Cauvery basin, from which drinking water is supplied to Bengaluru, had 26 tmc ft of water, which is double the amount compared to last year. On an average, the city’s requirement is 1.5 tmc ft of water.  

The heavy rains could also help with the recharge of groundwater for urban households. “About 30-40% of the city’s water requirements are from groundwater. In the city’s periphery, groundwater is overexploited. These excess pre-monsoon showers will help in those areas,” Reddy added.  

Drought in certain parts of Karnataka

While the state as a whole received normal rainfall, certain pockets in central and north Karnataka faced drought conditions where villagers were struggling to cope with the lack of drinking water.

About 12 villages in Gudibanda taluk and 30 villages in Sidlaghatta town, Chikkaballapura district, struggled to receive sufficient drinking water, according to Prajavani, a Kannada news daily.

With the region witnessing a rapid decrease in groundwater levels, the panchayats too were finding it difficult to find an alternative source. With nearly 20 tanks and ponds drying up, more than 3,000 families have been affected.

The report further said that due to failure on the part of the administration in the wake of the lockdown, some of the panchayat borewells have not been repaired and drinking water projects have been stalled.

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“In places where the panchayat borewells have failed, we are procuring private borewells by paying ₹600-₹700 per tanker and giving it to villagers,” Krishnareddy, TA of Tirumani village in Gudibanda, said over the phone. “The last two days’ rains have somehow helped us,” he added.

In Chikkaballapura district, villagers are dependent on sericulture and dairy farming. A huge chunk of these two activities are affected due to a shortage in drinking water, for both humans and animals.

The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre’s report said nearly 330 villages in the state witnessed drinking water problems. The state has asked the respective panchayats to arrange facilities for water availability. A total of 49 taluks were declared drought-hit during the last Kharif season.

Besides Chikkaballapura, villages in Haveri, Gadag, Raichur, Chitradurga, and Devanagere too witnessed drought conditions.

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