Hubballi: Farmers in the twin districts of Bagalkote and Vijayapur are regularly short of water for irrigation although they sacrificed acres of their land for the construction of the Almatti dam, which unfortunately, has not been able to meet their needs always.
When the reservoir filled to the brim this monsoon, the drought -hit farmers felt their troubles were over, but their cheer was shortlived as they are once again short of water for their Rabi crop.
Fed up, the farmers are now pitching for an increase in the height of the dam to allow it to store more water, regretting that the government has done nothing about this although the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal had allowed it to raise the dam's height to 124 meters eight years ago.
Built across the river Krishna, the Almatti dam has a storage capacity of 123 tmc ft of water. Last year, the officials had managed to supply abundant water from it to the farmers even in the Rabi season, but this year with most of the dam's water being used for the Kharif season, it has little left for the Rabi.
"The officials increased the total command area of the Almatti reservoir assuming that the inflow of water would continue for at least two or three months after the monsoon. But their calculation has gone wrong and the farmers have no water this season. They are suffering due to the negligence of the government," complained farmer leader, Basavaraj Kumbar.
Minister Shivanand Patil, who is also irrigation consultative committee chairman, says it will take over Rs 1 lakh crore to raise the height of the dam, and the money may have to be raised through public bonds.