Man-made water crisis in Karnataka: KPSC/KAS 2016 Challengers

Irrigation projects in Karnataka poorly executed, says CWC

  • The Central Water Commission (CWC), which studied the drought situation in Karnataka, has taken a serious note of ‘poor execution’ of Centrally funded major and minor irrigation projects in the state.drought_650x400_41461178144
  • It has said that the lacunae in the existing irrigation projects have compounded the already existing water crisis in the state.
  • With several parts of the country witnessing drought for the past two years, the Union Water Resources Ministry had asked the CWC to study the situation
  • The CWC, which sent teams to all the drought-hit states, has submitted its report to the Ministry on its findings and recommendations to mitigate the natural calamity.
  • In its report, “On the spot study of water situation in drought affected areas of the country (2015-16)”, the CWC said its team had visited many water resource projects implemented with financial assistance from the Union government in several districts including Mandya, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Davangere, Kalaburagi and Belagavi between December 2015 and March 2016.
  • The team also visited some of the minor and micro irrigation sites in the Gandorinala, the Ghataprabha, the Malaprabha and the Bhima areas.

What were the shortcomings

  1. Lack of progress in command area development,
  2. Dilapidated canal network due to lack of maintenance,
  3. Land acquisition problems,
  4. Lack of planning etc
  5. poor execution and management of irrigation projects
  • These problems accentuated the already existing water crisis due to drought in the state of Karnataka and compound water shortage due to already low water levels in reservoirs and depleting ground water table
  • Farmers in the command area of Gandorinala in Kalaburagi district were critical of the manner in which the scheme was executed. Farmers revealed that water barely reached half the stretch of the left bank canal instead of tail end, the report said.
  • Visit to micro irrigation sites in Tumakuru and Mandya districts revealed that farmers had to mandatorily own a borewell or a rainwater harvesting structure to avail themselves of subsidies to adopt micro irrigation in their farms.
  • All these lacunae in the existing irrigation projects create man-made water crisis for agriculture; the poor execution of canal network causes uneconomical use of water in the command area and lack of control over volume of water let out for farms, the report observed.
  • It suggested that institutional problems in Water Resources department such as inefficiency, lack of dedicated water managers and lack of capacity building should be rectified

Respose by Karnataka Government: State to modernise irrigation canals in N-K on priority

  • The Karnataka Government said it will take steps to maintain and modernise all irrigation canals under the Gandorinala, Bhima, Ghataprabha and Malaprabha projects.
  • Reacting to the Central Water Commission’s (CWC) latest report on the drought situation in Karnataka, the state government said some canals under irrigation projects in Kalaburagi and Belagavi districts were constructed several decades ago and the state government is taking steps to maintain and modernise those canals.
  • The state government’s reaction came to the CWC study report on drought-hit states in the country (2015-16) including Karnataka, in which the Central agency observed that Karnataka poorly executed Centrally funded major and minor irrigation projects in Belagavi and Kalaburagi districts and said lacunae in the existing irrigation projects compounded the already prevalent water crisis.
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