The Arkavati is one of the well-known rivers flowing across Karnataka. It originates in the Nandi Hills in the Chikkaballapura district and flows through Ramanagara and Kanakapura before it eventually drains into the Chikkarayappanahalli Lake near Kanivenarayanapura.
The Arkavati joins the Kaveri river around 34 km south of Kanakapura in the Ramanagara District. This Arkavati has three tributaries; the Kumudavathi, Suvarnamukhi and Vrishabhavathi.
The River Arkavati – An Overview
The Arkavati is very important to Bangalore city. Water from this river flows into two reservoirs; one at Hesaraghatta and the other at Tippagondanahalli. The former was built in 1894 while the latter became operational in 1933. A third dam, the Manchanabele dam is built in the Ramanagara district.
Water from the first two reservoirs is used by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board to meet 20% of the city’s water requirement. Around 135 million liters of drinking water is supplied to the city each day from this river.
Current Status Of The River Arkavati
The river today is in dire need to attention. Sand mining, encroachment, and industrial pollution have affected the course of the river. The polluted waters of Arkavati have affected the ground water quality in many of the areas on the course of the river.
And in certain instances, the polluted water has affected cultivation and local economy. In some cases, the course of the river has been changed due to sand mining.
The river has become dry and seasonal in many areas. In 2017, when it came to life in Torenagasandra after torrential rains, many residents were surprised to see it as they had forgotten that the river once flowed in this area.
Water levels at the Arkavati first started reducing in the 1980s. As Bengaluru went under rapid urbanization, the demand for firewood increased. In response the Forest Department distributed free Eucalyptus saplings.
Since this tree requires low maintenance in terms of labor and has a high ROI, many farmers converted their farmlands into Eucalyptus plantations. Unfortunately, eucalyptus is water intensive and over time soaked up the ground water reserves.