If Bangaloreans thought that whatever happens in Mandya in the wake of the rift with Tamil Nadu over Cauvery water does not concern them, they must think again. The alarming water level at Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) at Mandya means it may not be able to support Bangalore and Mysore, not to mention 20 other smaller towns and villages towards Mysore and Bangalore.
Experts at KRS engineering division feel that if the rain gods do not open up the heavens soon, Bangalore and Mysore are likely to experience water shortage by first week of February 2013.
This alarming situation has arisen after the Cauvery basin got 40% lesser rains than its usual quota during the 2012 monsoons causing the inflow to KRS to level off at an average of 5,000 cusecs for the period between June and October against 8,000 cusecs in the previous years.
The full reservoir level (FRL) of KRS is 121.80 which was reached in the monsoons in the previous years but this year the maximum level achieved was 109.21 on October 23, recording a deficit of 23.40 TMC in peak monsoon period, according to officials at KRS engineering division.
Since then the situation has worsened as the inflow further dropped to approximately 3,000 cusecs on Wednesday but the outflow was to the tune of 5,000 plus cusecs creating a shortage of 2,000 cusecs per day drawn from the main storage. In short, the water was spent quicker and in greater volumes than it was being received at the KRS. A similar situation was experienced at Kabini reservoir too.
Bangalore gets approximately 950 million litres per day (MLD) from Cauvery and Arkavathy rivers. Of this, 650 MLD is from Cauvery which is distributed in an area that ideally must get 1,350 MLD (135 litres per person per capita as per WHO recommendations). Bangalore North section alone gets 30 MLD from Cauvery and has experienced a 20% shortage in water drawn from Cauvery pipelines, according to engineers. Mysore gets 160 MLD water from KRS at 125 litres per capita daily (LPCD) and has seen a shortage of 40 MLD.
If the south eastern monsoons do not open up over the Cauvery basin, things could go from bad to worse, plunging the state capital in a water crisis.
“Over and above, we are faced with the eventuality of releasing 10,000 cusecs per day till December 10 (approximately 4.8 TMC) to Tamil Nadu as per the SC directive which means that KRS will be left with less than 20 TMC available by the mid December,” Arun Kumar MP, president of Mandya City Municipal Council, said.