India – Mysore City Corporation gears up to tackle water crisis

Posted in: Drinking Water News, Ground Water News, Misc Water Issues
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Article courtesy of  | January 4, 2013 | The Times of India | Shared as educational material only

MYSORE: Staring at scarcity of water ahead of summer given the falling level at Krishnarajsagar dam, the Mysore City Corporation has started to work out a contingency plan to tide over the crisis.

The civic body is now readying to service an emergency pumping unit downstream of KRS dam, which forms a crucial stop-gap arrangement to maintain supply when the level plummets below 67 ft at the reservoir. Presently, the level is 82 ft as against a maximum of 124.8 ft. Early in January 2012, it was 118 ft.

Residents are jittery way ahead of summer given the falling water level at the city’s primary source and a faulty distribution network to cope with. However, the corporation commissioner M R Ravi, who visited the Hongahalli and Belagola pumping units located downstream of the KRS dam on Friday, said there is no need to panic. “The water table is not healthy. But we’ve put in contingency plan to tide over the crisis. The emergency pumping unit at Hongahalli will now be serviced and kept ready,” he told The Times of India. As of now, both Hongahalli and Belagola pumping units are getting 200 million liters per day (MLD). When the KRS dam hits dead storage at 67 ft, we’ll need to fall back on the emergency unit, he explained.

Hongahalli is pumping 47 MLD as of now, which will not be available when the dam hits dead storage. It draws water through canal. The plan is to draw water directly from the river. The emergency pumping unit is located 700 meters away from the dam and on the banks of the river. The emergency unit was last used in 2003 at the height of drought. Now, it will be serviced as a fall back option and could be switched on in March.

Ravi hinted at water rationing when the level plummets saying extra ordinary measures will have to be taken. But what now we are focused is on putting in a plan so that we tackle the situation effectively.

The anxiety is that during the Cauvery protests in September, 2012 the angry Mandya farmers had forced their way into the water pumping units at Belagola and Melapura both in Mandya district and forced shut the pumping units seeking Mysoreans to join the protest. Ravi had approached the IGP (Southern Range) Ramachandra Rao seeking protection. Now, with the water outflow for irrigation purpose drastically reduced, the fear is that farmers could object.

What is heartening, however, is that Melapura, which accounts for 60 MLD, is built at a perennial source on the bank of Cauvery river and is expected to maintain the supply while the two-month old Kabini drinking water project is pumping 40 MLD supplying water to 10 wards. The MCC plans to increase its capacity to 60 MLD. The project draws water from Kabini river.

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