Continuous rains in northern Karnataka and upstream areas of neighbouring Maharashtra have put district authorities in the region on high alert for possible flooding, as rivers flow in full spate. Some low lying bridges and culverts have been submerged across Belagavi and Bagalkote districts.
In 2019, the region was battered by floods after heavy rains ravaged southern Maharashtra, causing massive loss of lives and destruction of property.
A Karnataka Disaster Management Authority official said that the situation this year is much better due to smooth coordination between the central government and two state government agencies in maintaining the dams.
“As soon as the dams upstream in Maharashtra get filled to 75%, they are gradually releasing all the water as inflow, so there is no sudden flooding. The carrying capacity of Krishna downstream of Almatti and Narayanpura dams is upto three lakh cusecs. Right now, the inflow is around 1.2 lakh cusecs. Flooding has happened in some low lying bridges between Almatti and the state border areas in Belagavi and Bagalkote,” he said.
The official maintained that there is no major threat in the main rivers, but smaller streams may be flooding and affecting small areas. Other than the Krishna, 50,000 cusecs of water has been released from the Tungabhadra, which might lead to some crop loss but there should be no other major impact, the officials said.
Other than Belagavi, Bagalkote districts like Dharwad and Gadag are likely to be impacted if there are more incessant rains. People living in low lying areas have been evacuated.
Ghataprabha, a major tributary to Krishna, has reached 75% capacity so there might be a need to release water there. He said that Malaprabha is in a relatively safer position, with 66% of the dam filled as of now. The official noted only under unlikely circumstances would districts such as Gadag and Davanagre be impacted if the rains continue further.
Belagavi Deputy Commissioner MG Hiremath said the situation is under control and there is no threat in the district. Officials are keeping a close eye on the ground situation.
“As of now, there has been no need to evacuate people in the district. Everything is under control, we are receiving 1.5 lakh causes in Almatti and we are letting out 1.5 lakh cusecs. In Ghataprabha, in the main catchment area of Gokak, rainfall is gradually reducing and in Malaprabha, whatever water has been released is not a problem,” he said.
Officials at the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre said there is no immediate threat, with rains predicted to recede gradually from Saturday.
“The situation is not as bad as last year and the rainfall is gradually decreasing in Maharashtra and north Karnataka region, the situation is expected to get better soon. There has been no place where we have seen the water flow become so high to create inundation,” Subha Avinash, hydrologist at KSNDMC said.
“We were expecting a flood-like situation in the region if the rains in Maharashtra continued but thankfully the rains seem to be reducing as of now,” she added.
Sunil M Gavaskar, meteorologist at KSNDMC, said that the rainfall starting from July 30 has been considerably higher than normal in most districts except Vijayapura — Belagavi (85%), Bagalkote (56%) Dharwad (115%), Gadag (89%) Koppal (78%).
“However, from tomorrow the rainfall is expected to come down much more,” he noted.