How the Mekedatu dam project benefit the uncontrolled urban growth in Karnataka?
Mekedatu Dam Project : Water and power is the lifeline of urban growth. Karnataka is the 8th largest state in India with more than 61 crores of population and growing urbanization of various cities, especially in Bangalore.
Bangalore is the IT capital of India, with IT corridor and industrial development has seen a rapid transition in its unplanned urban growth and management and has led to increasing in population, urban sprawl, peri-urbanization, and increase in land use.
Today, Bangalore metropolitan region and its adjoining areas are facing water scarcity, with an increase in the total number of extraction well from 5000 to 0.45 million in last 30 years according to the centre for science and environment. Recharge of groundwater is minimum and only they use half of the treatment capacity of water and dependency on lakes which are facing the problems. So in such an odd circumstance, the Karnataka government has proposed the Mekedatu dam project on the river Cauvery.
Mekedatu locally means goat’s leap (because earlier this river divide was used by a goat to save themselves from a lion). Mekedatu dam project is located 3.5 km downstream of Sangam (confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi river at Kanakpura), at Mekedatu and Mugguru village in Ramanagara and Chamarajanagara district of Karnataka. Its streamline divides the Cauvery wildlife sanctuary at the centre.
The objectives of the Mekedatu dam project.
- Construction of Multi-purpose balancing reservoir to tap water and provide potable drinking water to Bengaluru (110 km from site) and its adjoining areas.
- Karnataka has to release 192 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu in a normal monsoon year, but the state is concerned a lot of water wastefully flows into sea during such years.
- Regulate water by storing floodwater which went to sea unutilized and to supply 177.25 TMC of water to Tamil Nadu as per Cauvery water dispute tribunal and Supreme Court.
- Harnessing nearly 400 MW OF Hydro-electric power.
- This project will supply 4.75 TMC of water to Bengaluru and its adjoining areas, it will help in improving groundwater level when the state has surplus rainfall, will regulate the flow of water and will help meet the drinking water needs of Bengaluru and supply power to the IT capital of India.
Mekedatu dam project can become the lifeline of uncontrolled urban growth in Karnataka. But indeed it has some significant issue firstly, i.e. from the human being prospective as being opposed by riparian states like Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry as claimed by them that this will affect the natural flow of river and paddy cultivation. Secondly is from an ecological and environmental perspective as claimed by biologist by affecting flora and fauna of the region like submergence of 7800 acres of Cauvery wildlife sanctuary and affecting the life of various species such as Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Ratel, fish species-Deccan Mahsheer, Otter, Soft Turtle, Marsh Crocodile. Apart from this, there are 2000 daily visitors to this place.
Keeping everything in one’s mind where on one side its human facing water crises and on other ecology and environmental threat. It’s hard to weigh importance among the two, but a better check and balance can play a major role, where one’s need can be taken care but shouldn’t be replaced by greed. In the long run, Mekedatu dam project could be said beneficial only if it takes care of both judiciously.
AUTHOR:- VIVEK SINGH
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