The ironical case of Kadra-Kodasalli (Karwar, Uttara Kannada) flooding

Ankura Nayak
Picture courtesy: @justkaigathings (instagram)

Humans have tried to control water with levees and dams, essentially rerouting Mother Nature using a complex network of barriers. But sometimes, the most massive engineering projects can often lead to even more complex problems, especially if the area and its planners are unprepared for the worst.

One such situation arose after all the gates of the Kadra and Kodasalli dams in Uttara Kannada were opened to release excess water caused from incessant rain over the past one week. Both Kadra and Kodasalli dams, constructed across river Kalinadi were primarily built by Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) as hydroelectric projects for supply of water to turbines of electric power generating station.

When the downpours arrived earlier this week, the near full capacity Kadra and Kodasalli dams were forced to release water. This large quantum release of water from its reservoir caused panic among the people residing in the low-lying villages close to the Kali river. The released water gushed into houses in Kadra and Mallapur villages and the district administration shifted members of several families to rehabilitation centres at government schools and buildings in the Nuclear Power Corporation India Ltd (NPCIL) township, Kaiga located adjacently to the affected villages.

THE IRONY

While I was stranded along with my cousins at Kaiga township, I could not help but observe and reflect on the irony of the situation. The dams built to control or prevent a flood situation like this one could not contain the amount of water caused due to unstoppable rain and had to resort to a situation where it was forced to release the excess water and displace the very people it was bound to protect.

Secondly, both NPCIL and KPCL, responsible for the generation of power for electricity could not ensure power supply to the homes and streets in their own townships.When the water level rose, it seeped into the substations causing a massive power outage. The townships continue to face a blackout without access to electricity or a stable phone network for communication.

Natural calamities can be sudden and catastrophic. As I stood under an umbrella with my aunt waiting for the authorities to distribute drinking water, I could not help but think of how we humans, who take pride in being the most evolved species are nothing but at the mercy of mother nature during vulnerable situations like these that shake us from the very being and force us to re-examine our position in this ecosystem that we have conveniently destroyed.

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