Heavy rains across Karnataka hit bus, train services
The weather department issued a red alert for the southern districts of Karnataka on Tuesday as heavy rains continued to lash the majority of the state.
Bus services, especially in the northern districts that border Maharashtra, were affected after the rains and trains in some areas were also cancelled, officials in the state administration said.
After a slow start, rainfall picked up in Karnataka over the past two weeks, although the increase has been higher in the northern parts of the state since July. According to data from the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, between July 30 and August 5, the state received 25% more rainfall than the normal.
North interior Karnataka was the primary contributor, receiving 75% excess rain, with the coastal region following up with 22% more than normal. However, over this same period, the south interior Karnataka region received 76% less rainfall as compared to normal.
Problems related to the heavy rains in northern Karnataka have been compounded by the huge amount of water inflow into dams on the Krishna River. This was because upstream dams in Maharashtra had reached full capacity.
For instance, the Alamatti Dam in Vijayapura district, which borders Maharashtra, saw an inflow of around 2.5 lakh cusecs on Monday, while outflow was 2.9 lakh cusecs.
However, the Cauvery basin in the southern part of the state provided a study in contrast. Though there were reports of flooding and landslides in some parts of Kodagu district, dams on the river had reached only 40% of their capacity, with the Krishna Raja Sagar dam recording only 17% of live storage as on Monday. In light of the heavy rainfall in the hill districts, the Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga and Chickamagaluru district administrations declared leave for schools and colleges.
Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre director GS Srinivasa Reddy said that inflows in northern Karnataka were more than the state could handle, which was leading to the floods. “The prediction is for very high rainfall in Maharashtra and northern Karnataka for the next three to four days, so these inflows might rise,” he said.
“In the southern region, the picture is different. The government has already advised officials to not release water from the Cauvery for irrigation purposes and to conserve this to serve the drinking water needs in the southern districts,” Reddy added.
According to him, the Cauvery received an average inflow of 137 tmcft of water during the northwest monsoon. This year, it had only received 47 tmcft so far. “We have advised farmers to only go for rainfed crops this year,” he said. Kharif sowing was reported at 88% of the normal coverage till July end.
This deficit in the Cauvery basin comes a year after there was flooding in the area causing widespread destruction in Kodagu district.