The water level in the three major Cauvery basin reservoirs — Krishnarajasagar (KRS), Hemavati, and Kabini — were enough to meet the anticipated water requirements of the people in the region during the summer months, the government has said.
According to a reply provided by Minister for Water Resources Govind Karjol to a question from Madhu G. Made Gowda earlier this week in the Legislative Council, the water storage in KRS, Hemavati, and Kabini reservoirs stood at 29.086 tmcft, 20.726 tmcft, and 8.109 tmcft, respectively, on February 14.
The storage in the reservoirs was enough to meet the anticipated requirement of water during the summer months, said the Minister. Monsoon of 2022 saw most districts of Karnataka, including the South-Interior region, receive excess rainfall. By July 2022, as many as 18 districts had large excess rainfall, 11 had received excess rainfall, and two normal rainfall.
As per the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Karnataka is entitled to 6.5 tmcft of water a year for consumptive use towards drinking requirements. During the summer months between February and May, about 2.16 tmcft of water is required for drinking purposes.
The Minister said about 4.5 tmcft of water is required for the standing sugarcane crop, which has been permitted by the tribunal only on 40,000 acres in the area irrigated by the Visvesvaraya canal of KRS. The rest of the standing crop would be irrigated from Hemavati and Kabini reservoirs during summer, he said.
Water release has begun
The kharif crop of 2022 in Kabini and Hemavati reservoir area has almost entirely been harvested while the irrigation authorities began releasing water to the standing crops in KRS area from January 11, 2023, as per a time schedule that stretches for about 18 days every month from January to May 2023.
Before releasing water for the kharif crop of 2023, the government will take up emergency works to remove the weeds and silt from the canals to ensure that water reaches the tail-end farmers.