State is Karnataka is blessed with favorable weather and more than consistent average rainfall for last 40 years in comparison to many other states in India, but our challenges are indeed many, less than 1/3 of the agriculture or cultivable land has any source of irrigation and being the upper riparian state, we have been at the receiving end of long standing water disputes with many states.
Prolonged legal battle has been throwing up multiple challenges to farming community and for addressing the constantly escalating food demands in the state. Karnataka has been innovative in many ways to address several water resources related constrains but, is that all we can do is a question we need to ask, and how do we increase food production and truly be a farmer friendly state should be our focus for the next 10 years.
Karnataka State needs a comprehensive and conventional Water Resources Management policy, this will be the 1st of its kind in India that will focus on Water Resource Management and not mere usage.
Restoration of actual capacity in reservoirs by exploring desilting options. Improving the water flow from sources all through the river flow by restoring the catchment areas and improving forest cover.
Resolve Water disputes by bilateral dialog, as courts take time and prolonged cases are not in benefit of the state.
Creating additional localized storage capacity in form of Lakes, Ponds, Well and Tanks that can be filled with excess water from reservoirs during rainy season or good monsoon thereby ensuring unutilized water in not flowing into sea in excess. This will also mean recharging the ground water table, that can become an important alternate source of water for drinking and irrigation.
Integrated plan with Minor Irrigation and Urban Sewage Boards to effectively treat wastewater via STP & ETP for reuse, thereby reducing water pollutants (industrial & human) reaching large water bodies.
Time bound plan to clean up Arakavathy and Vrushabhavathy (which is nothing but Bengaluru sewage) by establishing natural treatments process and cleaning up the catchment areas, and a holistic approach to improve the quality and quantity of water.
Catchment areas of most rivers and tributaries have been the exploited by human activities across all the rivers and its tributaries, reinforcing the catchment areas can improve a better flow and storage of water.
Restrict human activities along the river runs, catchment areas and back waters to reduce floating pollution and industrial pollutants reaching water bodies.
Collaborate with Agriculture and Rural Development Ministries for improvising Watershed and Krishi Hondas (agriculture ponds) in districts which are drought prone, thereby creating additional storage options at every level.
Implement real-time monitoring of all the water bodies, catchment areas, wetlands and river courses/run to assess and enforce immediate action in a timely manner.
I hope my suggestion will help the Water Resources Department in developing a long-term plan for an Effective Management of Water Resources making Karnataka Water Sufficient all through the year.
Note: Sent to GoK Water Resources Dept on 16th July 2018