Bengaluru: As borewells are drilled deeper into the ground to quench parched throats in Pavagada taluk, water has become more dangerous to drink due to the increasing fluoride content in the groundwater. To compensate for the delay in the Yettinahole project, the state government has mooted a Rs 2,160 crore project to draw 1.67 thousand million cubic feet of water from the backwaters of the Tungabhadra.
The drinking water shortage is so severe that the state government has started supplying water drawn from other parts of the district in tankers.
As a long-term solution, the state government is banking on the controversial Yettinahole drinking water project to lift water from Netravathi and supply it to Tumakuru and other districts.
The Yettinahole project has run into legal and political tangles leaving Pavagada and other taluks to deal with the fluoride-contaminated groundwater and successive droughts. Pavagada was supposed to be one of the last taluks to benefit from the Yettinahole project.
“Even if the Yettinahole project becomes a reality, our taluk will be one of the last beneficiaries so we are trying to add the taluk to other projects to ensure there is sufficient drinking water,” a senior water resources department official said.
Law minister T B Jayachandra, who is also the district in-charge minister for Tumakuru, said: “With the extreme situation in Pavagada, where the fluoride content in groundwater has created an acute shortage of drinking water, we had to think of an alternative. As a result, we are drawing 1.67 thousand million cubic feet of water from Tungabhadra backwaters.”
Jayachandra said that apart from Pavagada, the other taluks that will benefit from this project are Kunigal (Tumakuru), Molkalmuru (Chitradurga) and Holalkere (Chitradurga).
The Yettinahole project has run into rough weather with two cases, one questioning the forest clearances and the other the merits of the project by people from Dakshina Kannada, still pending before the national green tribune (NGT).
Sources said the government is trying to push the project without repercussion from the NGT or the political hotbed of DK.
The department is in the process of rushing through the lift portion of the project and is calling tenders for the initial 200km of the conveyance part of the project.
Land trouble for Yettinahole
The state government appears to be behind schedule on the Yettinahole drinking water project due to land acquisition problems. “Preliminary estimates suggest we will have to spend Rs 150-200 crore on direct purchase, as there are coffee estates and other private lands to be procured for the lift part of the project. As for the conveyance part, we are yet to do a survey of land required. It will also entail paying people under the new land acquisition policy of four times the government rate for the land,” said an official.