SURVEY OF SULEKERE LAKE BEGINS
Context: The work of surveying Sulekere Lake has commenced to clear its encroachment and thereby enhance the storage capacity of the large waterbody.
- It is the main water source for the frequently drought-affected Davangere and Chitradurga districts.
- This lake is in Channagiri taluk of Davangere district is also called Shanti Sagar.
- The total water storage capacity of the lake is at 2.67 tmcft. Haridravathi and Mavinahole rivulets form its main water sources.
- It irrigates 7,250 acres of land and is a source of drinking water for 110 human habitats including Chitradurga city; Channagiri and Jagalur towns.
CAUSE OF CONCERN
- There are complaints that large tracts of land belonging to the lake have been encroached upon and converted into cultivable land.
- The encroachment has resulted in flooding of many villages in the vicinity when the water reaches the brim.
- According to functionaries of Khadga Samaja Samsthe, an organisation of local farmers that has conducted awareness programmes on development of the lake, the total area of the waterbody that was at 6,500 acres in the 1980s has reduced to 5,447 acres now owing to encroachment.
- More than 400 families in Basavarajapura, Rudrapura and surrounding villages in the catchment area of the lake are dependent on fishing for their livelihood.
- The Department of Fisheries has also established a fish rearing centre in Sulekere.
- Owing to a decline in the water storage caused by encroachment and accumulation of silt, the fish catch has also come down.
- The decline in the water storage capacity is rendering fishermen jobless in April and May every year, pushing them to work as construction labourers in Davangere city.
- Even agricultural land on the tail-end region of the command area of the lake is facing shortage of water.
STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT
- Responding to the demand from farmers and fishermen for encroachment clearance and silt removal, the State government has released an amount of 11 lakh to survey the lake.
- During the survey, the boundaries of the lake would be marked and fixed.
- A proper map of the lake would be prepared after which the encroachment would be cleared.
It is necessary to enhance the storage capacity of Sulekere to mitigate the effects of drought in Davangere and Chitradurga districts.