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‘Not moving operations from Karwar’: Indian Navy on media reports

The Indian Navy has rubbished media reports claiming that the acute water crisis in coastal Karnataka has forced the Indian Navy to consider shifting some of its operations away from its Karwar base. Speaking to TNM, Indian Navy Spokesperson, Captain DK Sharma said, “That is absolutely wrong reporting. We will face the crunch as everybody else will.” He added, “Yes, there is a water crisis and the river has dried up but so what? We are managing it with water from borewells and bowsers. Status quo will be maintained and we hope that the first shower will bring reprieve.”

The Karwar facility, which is India’s third largest naval base, houses India’s only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and other sophisticated war machinery, including submarines. It also hosts ship lift facility, harbour and anchorage, jetties, berthing facilities and the naval ship repair yard.

Rain in the coastal Karnataka has been sparse this year in the pre-monsoon period leading all streams, rivers and other natural sources of water to dry up. According to the latest data compiled by the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, the Uttara Kannada district, where the base is located, has had 76% deficient rainfall.

Rainfall in surrounding districts has also been very deficient – Udupi (86%), Shivamogga (78%), Haveri (63%), and Belagavi (71%). The groundwater situation in the district is also bad with more than 10 taluks in the district having water 33 m below ground level, according to April 2019 figures. The groundwater level in the area has also been depleting 2m every year over the last decade, according to data by the Ground Water Directorate in Bengaluru.

Water for the base is sourced from Ganagvali river originating from the Western Ghats and flows into the Arabian Sea. According to The New Indian Express report on the same, the base is now getting only 1 MLD of water compared to its requirement of 6 MLD. Weathermen have forecast that monsoon will arrive on the Karnataka coast on June 12.

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