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Yettinaholey project: Dakshina Kannada divided over a lifeline

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on August 30, 2015

The project proposes drawing the run-off water of about 24 TMC during the monsoon by constructing eight weirs - Photo: HS MANJUNATH

Civil works begin on river diversion

The Yettinaholey river diversion project evokes different responses. For many in Dakshina Kannada, it is a project to divert the district’s lifeline Nethravathi River to eastern parts of the State.

But many in the eastern parts see it as a ray of hope to get drinking water. Some politicians see it as an opportunity to gather public support in favour of the project in one area. Others capitalise on the opposition.

To get an idea about the progress in areas surrounding Yettinaholey, a team from Mangalore Press Club went on a field visit in Sakleshpur taluk of Hassan district.

Sakleshpur taluk is mainly known for its cardamom and coffee crops, though farmers also cultivate arecanut, coconut and paddy.

Perennial water source

One of the perennial water sources of the taluk is Yettinaholey. This originates at an altitude of 950 metres and finally joins the Nethravathi at Uppinangady in Dakshina Kananda before culminating in the sea at Mangaluru.

A detailed project report (DPR) of the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd (KNNL) envisages deriving water from various sources in Sakleshpur, and recharging groundwater resources in the rain shadow areas of south-eastern parts of the State. The taluks planned for providing drinking water are: Sakleshpur, Hassan, Belur, Arsikere, Tiptur, Tumkur, Kortagere, Doddaballapura, Chikkaballapura and Devanahalli.

The ₹13,000-crore project proposes to draw the run-off water of about 24 TMC during the monsoon by constructing eight weirs, and by pumping water to rain shadow regions.

A visit to different locations of Yettinaholey project areas showed the signs of civil works in the region.

If you are a regular traveller from Mangaluru to Bengaluru via Shirady ghat section on NH 75, you would have noticed this location, and seen a small water-fall adjoining the road. A few metres before that, you get a view of one of the eight weirs being constructed as part of the project. Excavated land, felled trees and concrete structures amidst green vegetation, as well as a water stream, are all there to see.

Pipe laying work

One can also see steel pipes, with diameters of 3 metres and 4 metres, being manufactured and stacked in different parts of the taluk.

In Hebbasale village, through which the River Hemavathy passes, a huge stretch of paddy field is now being used for stacking the steel pipes, and a stretch of paddy field has been dug up to lay these pipes.

At a time when KNNL’s DPR envisages to divert 24 tmcft of water, a report by the Centre for Ecological Sciences of Indian Institute of Science, titled ‘Environmental Flow Assessment in Yettinahole, Where is 24 TMC to divert?’, gives a different picture.

It says the total run-off yield from the catchments under Yettinaholey project is estimated to be 9.55 tmcft in contrast to the estimated 24 tmcft in the KNNL’s DPR.

It says the inflated values of water yield in the catchment would only lead to the failure of water diversion scheme.

Meanwhile, some green activists and people of Sakleshpur and Dakshina Kannada have charted out plans to oppose the project.

Kishor Kumar of Sakleshpur has approached the National Green Tribunal that Yettinaholey is not a drinking water project.

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Published on August 30, 2015
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