South India left with water storage level lowest in a decade - Roundup of the week's news (December 17 – 23, 2012)

South India left with water storage level lowest in a decade

Storage level in 16 of the 30 major reservoirs is lower than 40 per cent of capacity in South India, with monsoon being 19 per cent deficient up to now. Deficient rainfall and lower storage levels are likely to affect soil moisture and irrigation which, in turn, may affect production of paddy, coarse cereals and pulses during the current rabi season.  Water levels in the three major Cauvery reservoirs have reached levels causing a lot of anxiety. The availability of water from Kabini has reached critical 'nil' level while that from Krishnarajasagar and Harangi reservoirs has steeply fallen to a little over seven thousand million cubic feet (tmcft).

Tamil Nadu demands water from Karnataka

Jayalalithaa mounts pressure, asks the Centre to notify the final order of the Cauvery tribunal for ensuring release of water by Karnataka to save withering crops in the state during this distress year. With the imminent closure of the Mettur dam for irrigation looming large, the Tamil Nadu government also decides to move Supreme Court, seeking around 20 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water, remainder of what was originally demanded earlier this month.

Kumbh Mela 2013: Pollution Board swings into action

Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board begins monitoring Ganga and Yamuna prior to Kumbh Mela and plans to inspect all industrial units every third day, to ensure their compliance to set norms.Jawed Usmani too directs industrial units that release effluents into river Ganga to stop operations with immediate effect. With an aim to make sacred river Ganga pollution-free during Maha Kumbh-2013, 80 tanneries were shut down in Kanpur.

Maharastra’s multi-crore irrigation scam

A special investigation team headed by water expert Madhav Chitale to probe Maharashtra’s multi-crore irrigation scam. The move comes in the wake of stiff opposition from several quarters to the state government's White Paper on irrigation. However activists flay state government’s selection of Madhav Chitale as head of the investigating team.

Alteration of water release chart of the PAP agreement required

Three districts in Kerala face acute drinking water shortage due to drying of Bharathapuzha river three months before advent of summer. The river is a victim of Paramabikulam-Aliyar project (PAP) pact violation between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Experts stress on need to revise water release charts.