Mini-hydro projects cause water shortage in Karnataka

Mini-hydel projects may look like a way of supplying cleaner energy to small rural communities, but too many of them can cause serious water problems, as Karnataka is now discovering!

BANGALORE : The Cauvery river water issue, which is a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and also entangles Kerala and Puducherry [Pondicherry], is now caught up in a new row.

The controversy is within Karnataka itself, where the river majestically flows and on which as many as 62 Mini Hydel Projects have been commissioned by the state government. These mini-hydel projects are having adverse impact on the water supply, hydrology, ecology and environment.

According to media reports, “following the drastic fall in the water-level in the Shiva Balancing Reservoir (SBR), the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has asked Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL) and Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL) to stop power generation from four mini-hydroelectric projects in the Cauvery basin, at least till May.”

The projects that were asked to stop generation include: Madhavamantri, Satyagala, Shiva Anecut and Shimsha mini-hydroelectric projects.

However, the activist group  South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People SANDRP is dismayed about the latest move.

Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP inquires about the status of 58 other mini-hydroelectric projects on Cauvery River that are causing immense environmental damage. “Some of these projects are downstream from the Shiva Anicut from where water supply to Bangalore is routed. In addition to decrease in water availability, water stored by several mini hydel projects increases the evapo- transpiration rate of water, particularly in summer,” says Parineeta.

“These projects also hold back water, critically affecting water supply cycles to Bangalore and other towns and villages dependent on the river. Similar conditions had occurred in Mangalore, last year, where water levels in the Thumbe Dam fell to alarming levels due to mini hydel projects hoarding up water in the upstream” she adds.

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Posted by on March 22, 2013. Filed under Breaking News,DEVELOPMENT,EARTH. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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