Mysore, Akram Mohammed, July 27: With the water level in River Cauvery on a constant rise, there are not many avian species left at the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary in Srirangapatna taluk in Mandya district.
As a result, the inflow of tourists has reduced to a trickle. The Krishnarajasagar (KRS) reservoir in the same taluk offers a contrasting picture though. The footfalls at the dam have seen a dramatic rise in the last few days, of enthusiasts keen to catch a glimpse of the cascading outflow.
The species left in the bird sanctuary are the White Ibis, two species of Herons, Snake Bird and the common Cormorant.
Boating at the sanctuary has taken a hit, due to the large discharge from KRS.
The birds which have stayed back have hopped on to tree tops to escape being washed away.
“Whenever water is released from the KRS upstream, we are informed. As water takes about 40 minutes to reach the sanctuary, it is easy to take precautions,” said P Lakshmisha, deputy range forest officer at the sanctuary. Boating is suspended whenever more than 5,000 cusecs of water is released, he said. With more than 50,000 cusecs being released, boating may resume in the sanctuary only in October, he said.
In KRS, tourists are flocking to enjoy the scenes of water release. To cash in on the rush, one-minute photographers are ready with hand-held printing machines.
Raju, who clicks and prints photographs in front of the gates of the reservoir, waves at tourists and asks them to get photographed for ‘only Rs 30’, so that they can take home the pictures as memorabilia. He told Deccan Herald that people were coming earlier than usual this year to view the breathtaking sight.
“During the last couple of years, the number of people visiting the reservoir was very low. With KRS getting filled early this year, we will earn better,” he said. Tea vendors and fruit sellers there shared Raju’s view.
As for tourists, they are just awed at the enormous amounts of water roaring out through the gates.
Akshath N, a student from an engineering college in the City, said it was a humbling sight.
“Last year, we had our fingers crossed, worried about our taps going dry. But this year, we won’t have any problem. Our Tamil Nadu neighbours too will be satisfied,” he said.
Cauvery in spate
Areas downstream of KRS are facing a flood threat. Owing to an outflow to the tune of 60,000 cusecs in the past couple of days, water has entered low-lying areas like Srirangapatna.
“Water level near the banks has risen in the past few days. If the outflow from the dam is increased, there is the danger of many houses being flooded,” said Mahadevappa, a resident of Srirangapatna. Low-lying villages in Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district are facing inundation, owing to the release of 93,000 cusecs from Kabini and KRS reservoirs.
The district administration has declared high alert at Yedakuri, Hale Hampapura, Sattegala and Dasanapura villages of the taluk. Steps are being taken to shift the villagers to safer places and open gruel centres. Officials inspected villages facing a flood threat on Saturday.
Heavy rains that lashed Madikeri district for the last few days took a break on Saturday. Madikeri, Bhagamandala, Napoklu, Kushalnagar and Shanivarasanthe received rainfall in the evening.
The inflow of water into the Harangi reservoir was 10,032 cusecs and outflow was 9,200 cusecs. About 700 cusecs water is being released into the canals. Rainfall has receded in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts too.