In News, why?
- The project to connect the Bedti and Varada rivers in Karnataka has drawn criticism from environmental groups who label it unscientific and a waste of tax dollars.
The Bedti-Varada Project is what?
- In 1992, the Bedti-Varada project was envisioned to provide drinking water.
- The Bedti, a river that runs west into the Arabian Sea, and the Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra River that empties into the Krishna, which empties into the Bay of Bengal, are intended to be connected by the proposal.
- At Hirevadatti in the Gadag district, a sizable dam will be built.
- At Menasagoda in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district, a second dam will be constructed on the Pattanahalla river.
- Tunnels will transport water from both dams to the Varada.
- After the water reaches Kengre, it will travel 6.88 kilometres in a tunnel to Hakkalumane, where it will connect to the Varada.
- Thus, the project calls for transporting water from Uttara Kannada district’s water-rich Sirsi-Yellapura region to the parched Raichur, Gadag, and Koppal districts.
- A total of 302 million cubic metres of water from the Bedti and Varada rivers’ Pattanahalla and Shalmalahalla tributaries will be used, while 222 million cubic metres of water will be taken from the Suremane barrier constructed to block the Bedti river.
- To transport the water all the way to Gadag, the Project would require 61 megawatts of power. It is still uncertain whether the water will reach Gadag after this.
What problems are related to this project?
- It is challenging to get a river that is currently flowing westward move in the opposite direction.
- The Bedti and Varada rivers start to dry up in the early summer.
- It is a cruel irony that government scientists intend to connect these rivers under the guise of supplying drinking water even though they are well aware that they do not flow continuously.
- Inaccurate Project Report:
- The irrigation department’s Detailed Project Report (DPR) is inaccurate since it was created without considering the water supply and without citing the National Water Development Agency’s (NWDA) findings regarding the interconnection of the Bedti-Aghanashini and Varada rivers.
- Forests covering more than 500 acres will be lost. The final outcome will be that there won’t be any water.
- This project will harm both the flora and fauna.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature has recognised the Bedti valley as an active biodiversity zone.
- Along with 420 different bird and animal species, the region is home to 1,741 different varieties of flowering plants.
- Particularly at the Bedti’s estuary in Dedi, the nutrients that the river transports are responsible for maintaining fish populations.
- About 35 distinct animal species use the river valley as a corridor. In the estuary area, the Bedti is referred to as Gangavali.
- Affect Lifelines for Thousands:
- In addition to fishing communities along the shore, thousands of farmers in the Malenadu region, at the foot of the Western Ghats, rely on the Bedti and Varada rivers for their livelihood.
River interlinking offers advantages and disadvantages, but because of the potential economic, political, and environmental repercussions, it might not be a good idea to implement this project at a centralised national level.
In order to lessen floods and droughts, decentralised efforts to connect rivers may be explored instead. Rainwater collecting should also be encouraged.