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Yettinaholey project will affect southern India as a whole: Expert 

Our Bureau Mangaluru | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on November 23, 2015

The Nethravathi river (seen here near Tokkottu, Mangalore

The Yettinaholey water diversion project, if implemented, will cause irreparable damage to the Western Ghats region in Karnataka, according to S.G. Mayya, hydrologist and retired professor of the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka.

Addressing presspersons in Mangaluru on Monday, he said: “If the Western Ghats are damaged, there will be danger not only to the coastal region but also to the entire southern India as most of the main rivers originate in the Western Ghats.”

He urged the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to look into this issue before giving its concurrence to the release of forest land for the project.

[A detailed project report (DPR) of the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd (KNNL) envisages deriving water from various sources in the Western Ghats region in Sakleshpur taluk of Karnataka to recharge groundwater resources in the rain shadow areas of the south-eastern parts of the state.

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

Yettinaholey is one of the tributaries of the west-flowing Nethravathi River — the lifeline of Dakshina Kannada district]

Quoting the United Nations World Water Development Report for 2015, he said the report stresses the need for investing in the protection of water-related ecosystems, maintaining the essential and varied environment services they provide.

In this context, it is very important to protect the forest, environment, and the soil on the slopes. If the Western Ghats are not protected from such situations, they will be sure to face the fate of Uttaranchal, he said.

Ruling out the availability of 24 tmcft of water, he said the project is certainly going to face a water shortage if implemented.

“The exaggerated figure of 24.1 tmcft of water will never be available in the present form of the project. The flow and yield estimation is based on unreliable rainfall data, deliberately leaving important available data in the catchment,” he said.

Stating that there is no guarantee that the people in Kolar and Chikballapur districts from the south-eastern parts of the state will ever get water from this project, Mayya said it will be a mere waste of tax-payers’ money by constructing an unscientific water conveyance system.

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Published on November 23, 2015
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