Friday, 3 February 2012

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Today's editions of the newspapers say that the Government of Karnataka plans to divert a stream in the Western Ghats 'Ettinahole', towards the hinterland citing it is as a solution to the drinking water crisis faced by the districts of Bangalore Rural, Tumkur, Kolar, Chikballapur and Chitradurga. The project is being considered with utmost importance as it is also expected to meet the long term needs of Bangalore region as a whole, given that the city would not be able to draw any more water from the river Cauvery in a short while from now. Many irrigation experts seem to have suggested that the diversion of west flowing streams seem feasible to meet the future requirements of the capital and have prepared a report as well.

Ettinahole is learned to be one of the major tributaries of the river Netravati, a prominent West flowing river in Karnataka which also caters to the drinking water needs of the largest coastal city in the state, Mangalore. Its catchment area comprises of several streams but the contribution from 'Ettinahole' is known to be the most significant. Now if the Govt spends a sum of 7000 crores to build a reservoir along 'Ettinahole' and construct pump houses to pump the water to an altitude of 3000 ft through pipe lines laid along the hilly regions, it would amount to killing a major West flowing river and denting the lives of the people in the towns and cities along its banks or dependent on its water. It would just mean that Mangalore and its surrounding towns would be deprived of water just to meet the ever-growing requirements of  their counterparts in the Bangalore region. A few of irrigation experts are known to be discouraging the diversion of West flowing rivers and streams for very genuine and logical reasons to which the Govt is paying no heed.

It is really hard to understand the mindset of politicians. Two rivers that are very close to Bangalore, Arkavati and Pinakini  (Gauribidanur), both of which have their sources in Nandi hills are practically non-existent, thanks to Bangalore's sand and land mafia. Ministers speak of clearing encroachments along the courses of these rivers but no action seems to have been taken ; children using the Pinakini river bed as a playground is a very common sight in Gauribidanur town. As per the locals, this has been the case since more than a decade.Bangalore was a city with several wetlands ; the Govt sees to urgency revive them. Vrishabavati was a river which had its source in Bugle rock park in Basavanagudi, one of Bangalore's central-most localities. Today Vrishabavati is a huge drain with several 'tributaries' - the Govt sees no need to treat the water which can later be mixed with potable water in calculated quantities and supplied to the city (Newspapers had published a report on a similar project in the past) . A stream that originates in the Savanadurga hill near Magadi town is a tributary of the river Kanva which in turn joins Cauvery. A reservoir has already been built along this stream at the Manchanabele village off Mysore Road. Besides these, another stream which is known to join Cauvery has its source in the hills near Bannerghatta in Bangalore. It would come as a surprise if any of the ministers even know of its existence.

When these many options are available near Bangalore, it is hard to comprehend why the Govt is keen on spending an enormous amount that could spell a doom on the entire development of another city in the state. Priority must be accorded to cheaper options rather than drawing up big plans and and quoting exorbitant amounts regarding their implementation.


  1. Very informative post da :) Liked it !

  2. Very nice! it's hard to feed everything with nothing.. Bangalore is grown beyond the reach.. it's time to concentrate on other cities across our state.

    1. True...the disturbing fact is that the industry still seems reluctant to move out of Bangalore to elsewhere in the state.