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Water-rich Agumbe has run dry: and it’s not the only place

With the drought scorching the world and the rest of India refusing to let up, Agumbe in Shimoga district of Karnataka, known as the ‘Cherrapunji of the the South’ for the abundant rainfall it receives, is experiencing water scarcity this year. In nearby Kerala, perennial rivers like the Pamba and Kabini have gone dry, affecting thousands.

Agumbe, wettest place in Karnataka, is fast going dry
Deepthi Sanjiv, Bangalore Mirror
Agumbe in Shivamogga district – which enjoys the sobriquet “Cherrapunji of the South” – has gone dry thanks to deforestation, excessive sand mining and the prevailing drought conditions. Reeling under effects of climate change, Agumbe – at an altitude of 2110 feet above sea level – attracts lakhs of tourists throughout the year and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Western Ghats. But it recorded very low rainfall last year. And with delayed showers, Agumbe, with an annual average rainfall of a whopping 8,000 mm, is staring at a severe water crisis. (Also read: Agumbe: Tears in heaven (2010 article))

Agumbe, water issues and Acacia
S N Rai, Deccan Herald
Agumbe in Shivamogga district, known as Cherrapunji of the South, was in news recently for water scarcity (DH, Apr 11). Agumbe and Bhagavathi valley areas receive unusual rainfall of around 7,000 mm in a year. Nearly 80% of this is from June to August. The months of November to March are usually dry months.

Kabini dries up, farmers hit
Rajiv K.R., The Times of India
Surreal scenes of drought and deprivation abound on the banks of river Kabini, which has run dry along the stretches of several border panchayats in Wayanad this year. The once-perennial river has been reduced to a bed of rock and sand with isolated small pools at many places along the Mullankolly and Pulpally panchayats. The drying up of the river has turned the lives of thousands of people living along the banks upside down besides decimating the local agri-economy . Tanker trucks trudging along the banks to supply drinking water reflect the new normal in the lives of the villagers.

Parched rivers – Water sellers make a killing in Ranni
Salim Joseph,The Times of India
At Kattikkal, downstream the Perunthenaruvi hydropower project, the mighty river Pamba lies revealing her rocky bed with patches of stagnant pools. On the winding road overlooking the river, yet another truck carrying water tanks is heading to Kakkudumon, a drought-hit area under the Naranammoozhy panchayat.
It has been so for the past several summers, when shortage of drinking water would peak in Ranni. Around two lakh people in the constituency are heavily dependent on river Pamba and its tributaries. “Ranni is the place where water shortage is most acute in the state,“ said P V Anojkumar, a resident and an environmental activist, who is also the BJP’s Ranni constituency president.

Manifestos Of Political Parties Are Clueless About Impending Water Crisis
Viju B, The Times of India
Kerala receives an average annual rainfall of 3,107 mm every year, seven times more than Rajasthan, yet some of our major rivers and farming regions today resemble north Indian semi-desert zones, devoid of water. The rise in summer temperature is a pointer to the scary scenario of the state becoming water starved in the near future. So far policy makers and politicians have managed to escape the ire of the average Keralite because with the arrival of the south west monsoon the agony of harsh summer would be forgotten and the mirage of greenery would conceal the dipping water table of the state. Not anymore. Citizens have begun asking why is it that the basic right to water have been ignored by all political parties in this election.

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