(Last Updated on : 30/06/2016)
The Netravati River
originated from the Indian state
. More specifically, this river has its origin in the Chikkamagaluru district
of Karnataka at Bangrabalige valley, Yelaneeru Ghat in Kudremukh
. It is also known by another name, Nethravathi. Also, as the town of Bantwal
is seen on the banks of this river, it was known as the Bantwal River in the last century. This river is given the status of being one of the sacred rivers of India. The Gazetteer of Southern India which was published in 1855 have references to the River Netravati. In this publication, the Netravati River is referred to as unaffordable during the south-west monsoon
. Under the worlds biodiversity conservation project, the catchment area of Netravati River is selected as one of the 30 hotspots for biodiversity conservation.
Geography of Netravati River
Globally, this river can be pinpointed at coordinates 12 degrees 54 minutes 30 seconds North and 75 degrees 20 minutes 56 seconds East. This river has an apparent breadth of about 200 yards. Its drainage area is about 1,353 square miles. The river bed mainly comprises of hornblende rock containing spangles of mica
and small garnet
s. They act to fetter the river bed. Apart from these large rocky masses, the smooth river bed also has sienites occurring in the form of fragments of a beautiful pegmatite with flesh coloured feldspar. A train passing through Mangalore
called Netravati Express is named after this river. A railway bridge was constructed on the Netravati River which served as one of the major gateways to Mangalore. Netravati Rivers railway bridge is considered to be the longest railway bridge built atop a river bank. The nearby cities of Netravati River are Bangady, Ishaq Indabettu and Nellyady Town.
Course of Netravati River
Netravati River originates in the Western Ghats
in Bangrabalike forest
Valley in Yellaner Ghats of Kudremukha range in Karnataka. The Netravati amalgamates with the Kumaradhara River
near Uppinangadi village
. Kumaradhara River also originates in Western Ghats in the Subramanya range. When it flows from Uppinangadi, it arrives in the city of Mangalore. After merging with Kumaradhara River, the Netravati then joins the Arabian Sea
. As estimated, this river drains more than 100 TMC of water into the Arabian Sea every year. Along its course, the Netravati also flows through popular pilgrim
place called Dharmasthala
. The navigability of the Netravati River is dependent on small country craft, which has the potential to travel many miles in the river.
Tributaries of Netravati River
The Netravati River branches out into several tributaries. These tributaries have blessed the area around with greenery which is evident throughout the year. Also, water from the tributaries like Hemavati
, Cauvery and many others is utilized for irrigation
purposes. These tributaries drain surplus water into the streams, small rivers and rivulets thereby keeping the hydro-system of the Western Ghats active.
Floods caused by Netravati River
During the monsoon river Netravati overflows, which has adverse effect on the nearby area. In the past years, Bantwal, a taluk in Dakshina Kannada district
, Karnataka, has often been submerged during the monsoon. Consequently, many locals considered leaving the town of Bantwal as a viable option and settling elsewhere. According to the locals of the town, 1928 and 1974 were the years when major floods
had conquered Bantwal.
Netravati Rivers Support to Livelihood
The Netravati River functions to serve as the main water resource to Mangalore and Bantwal. A total of 38 reservoirs are formed by ancillaries that are spread over the region. It has been estimated that more than 40 Lakhs people are dependent on the waters of the Netravati River to meet their daily requirements. Undoubtedly, people inhabiting the area near the banks of river are involved in agriculture
. The marine life of this river is valuable for fishing
. As estimated, 7 lakh farmers have grown paddy fields on the 35,000 hectares of land near Netravati River. Also, the bed of the river serves as the source of sand
, which is characteristically smooth. The bed of the river throws away this sand which is available to people for business on the banks of the Netravati River. This sand is further utilized for construction purposes. Also, under the worlds biodiversity conservation project, a lot of inland waterways or canals for nearby villages such as Hongada Holae, Shiradi, Keri Holae, Yettina Holae and Yedakumeri have been planned to be constructed.
Development of Netravati River
Across Netravathi River at Thumbe, a vented dam
was planned to be constructed, with the aim to improve the water supply facilities to Mangalore, Karnataka. Ritwik Projects Ltd in a joint venture with Swapna Constructs is responsible for the establishment of this dam. Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board is the implementing agency of this project. This dam was planned to be about 343.5m wide and 12m tall. Undoubtedly, this new dam was an advanced version of the existing dam in terms of its storage capacity. The existing dam could store up to 4 million cubic metres of water whereas the new one would have the potential to store about 15 million cubic metres of water. The slow construction of the dam not only resulted in the project cost being increased from Rs.48.21 crore to Rs.75.5 crore but also the expected year of completion of the project to be extended from June 2013 to 2015. As per records, the state government had released about Rs.19.5 crore for the project.
Ecological Crisis Faced by Netravati River
The ecologically fragile Netravati River is facing threats by many mini hydroelectric projects and a diversion project. Some of these have been executed while others are still in their planning stages. The Netravati River Diversion Project, also termed as Yettinahole project was aimed at the diversion of the Netravati River to eastern parts of Karnataka, thereby supplying water to the water-starved districts of Hassan
Rural and Chikaballapur
. This project would divert more than 24 tmcft of water from Netravati to the districts above, at an estimated cost of more than Rs.8,000 crores. But experts did not consider this plan to be viable. According to their analysis and estimation, the river is a living thing and its movement to another direction will impact the environment as it is against the natures laws. More specifically, the marine life of the river may be endangered, due to the reduction in the amount of freshwater outflow and the resultant decline of nutrients flowing into the sea. Deliberate changes in the course of the river may also adversely affect the contiguity of rainforests
in Western Ghats. Fortunately, some opposition was raised against hydro electric projects on Netravati River, but Yettinahole project could not be stopped from being executed. On March 3, 2014, Karnataka Chief Minister
K. Siddaramaiah had laid the foundation stone of this project despite the widespread protests by the locals and Dakshina Kannada industry bodies.