Karnataka may be declared drought-hit as 160 taluks are dry


Bengaluru: With 160 of the total 176 taluks in the state facing severe water shortage, it is likely that the entire state would be declared drought-hit.

The state government had declared 139 taluks drought-hit during the kharif season in 2016 and had sought Rs 4,702 crore funds from the Centre for relief works; the number of taluks suffering from drought went up to 160 taluks during the rabi season.

Sources say that as 25 of the 30 districts in the state faced deficit rainfall in 2016 and Karnataka was likely to face the effect in 2017 too as monsoon would begin only in June. Reports state that only Bidar district had received excess rainfall while Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Kolar and Kalaburagi received normal rainfall.

According to Srinivas Reddy, Director, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, Karnataka is facing hydrological, meteorological and agricultural drought as it failed to get rains during the pre-monsoon, south-west monsoon as well as north-east monsoon.

He informed that rainfall was deficit by about 28%; rainfall recorded in 2016 was the lowest in the past 45 years.

It is not only agriculture, but even drinking water needs that have been hit by water shortage. Authorities have revealed a shocking fact: the four major reservoirs in the Cauvery basin—KRS, Harangi, Kabini and Hemavathi— can altogether impound 104.55 tmcft of water, but on Thursday, the available water was only 15.4 tmcft.

It is said that on an average, about 3 tmcft per month was required to meet the drinking water requirement of 40 towns including Bengaluru and Mysuru along with 600 villages in the Cauvery basin.

Sources say that of the 15.4 tmcft available, only 11 tmcft would be available due to seepage and other losses; thus authorities have to manage till the monsoon.


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