Can Almatti dam feed 22 new projects?

BANGALORE: The Global Investors Meet (GIM) saw a whopping investment of more than Rs 4 lakh crore and 353 MoUs. A conservative estimate has it that 22 projects granted clearance, including those under the GIM, require as much as 15 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water from the Almatti reservoir.

But the question is how many of them will have adequate water? These industries, including those for steel, iron ore, power and sugar, are to be set up around Bagalkot.

Water experts say that the existing quantum of water available in the Almatti reservoir may not be adequate. They opine that diversion of water from irrigation can be the only way government can allot water to these industries. According to government data, the State High Level Clearance Committee has green-lighted 168 projects. This excludes the 69 projects cleared as recently as Saturday.

“The 15.5 tmcft of water is an additional requirement and the option is only to cut down the water supply to irrigation and divert it to the industries,” said Capt S Raja Rao, member, technical committee for Krishna Water Dispute, and former secretary to government, minor irrigation department. “It would be difficult to allocate such huge quantity of water from the Krishna.”

Principal secretary (commerce and industry) V P Baligar said the water resources department has been tasked with identifying the source of water to these industries. “Plans are afoot to create artificial ponds to store rainwater and harvest it for industrial use. Besides, nearby reservoirs will also be used,” he said.

Of the 22 industries in Bagalkot, 12 of them clearly indicate their source of water as Almatti dam and Krishna river; the rest mentions a nearby source. Though they have not clearly spelt out the name of the water source for many industries, the locations identified for industries indicate that the only water source available is Krishna river. Besides, there are also other industries that mention VADA (Vijayanagar Area Development Authority) as their source of water supply. “However, water for VADA could be got from either Tungabhadra or Krishna,” Capt Raja Rao said.

From TOI

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