Mangaluru: It could be mistaken for a playground or a wide mud road , but in reality it is a dry stream bed, one of many in the coastal districts of the state, where several rivers and rivulets have dried up in the absence of rain.
The river Netravathi, which is usually in full flow in Uppinangady and Kadeshivalaya, is thin in most stretches and has lost its flow overall. The scene is similar at the foothills of the Western Ghats, where instead of water in the river Netravathi, you find boulders and rocks.
The situation is so bad that the government has already declared all taluks of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi drought-hit. Environmentalists blame the neglect of the places where the rivers origin and their catchment areas in the Western Ghats for the water crisis in the coastal districts of Uttara Kannada, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. “All the three districts are facing a water shortage. The Western Ghats are dotted with homestays and resorts and many estates are illegally expanding their boundaries. All this is being done at the cost of the forests and rivers. Government projects like the Yettinahole, check-dams, hydel power projects, roads and tourism are mainly responsible for the drying up of the rivers,” says Mr Dinesh Holla, convener of Sahyadri Sanchaya. With the rivers drying up early, forest fires have been reported in the ghats a few times already, he notes.
“Due to the fires the plants and grass have been burnt to the root and will not regenerate during the monsoon. In the absence of vegetation the rain water will not percolate into the ground and result in scarcity again next year,” he warns....