Mekedatu project: Environmental Concerns

Mekedatu project is Karnataka’s plan to build a dam across River Cauvery in Ramanagara district. With the proposed capacity of 48 TMC, the project is aimed at supplying drinking water to Bengaluru and recharging the groundwater table in the region.

Environmental Concerns

  • Of the 52.52 sq. km needed for the Mekedatu project, 31.81 sq. km falls under the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and another 18.69 sq. km is adjacent forest land.
  • The submergence of the land of wildlife sanctuary and forest land would result in cutting off many wildlife and elephant migratory routes.
  • Species such as near-threatened grizzled giant squirrel, honey badgers, endangered and endemic Deccan Mahseer fish, smooth-coated otter and oriental small-clawed otter, Indian Pangolin, the endemic Madras tree shrew, and the Kollegal ground gecko will be adversely affected.
  • The cutting off of elephant corridors completely in the region will isolate north and southern reaches. As a result, the existing challenge of man-animal conflict will be further exemplified.
  • The Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is also the as a buffer to absorb surplus tiger populations from B.R. Hills and M.M. Hills. The adverse impact on the sanctuary may pose challenges of animal man conflict.

The pre-feasibility report prepared by the government of Karnataka has highlighted the above listed possible impacts. The report strongly justifies the project by stating that nearly 1 crore people in Bengaluru can be supplied with 135 litres of water per day.

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