Recent studies of the proposed Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir project reveal many “unseen dangers” which has not been disclosed in the project’s pre-feasibility report.
The “destruction of Lineaments” (faults) is the central part of the Mekedatu project, apart from the huge loss of forests and wildlife in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
As per our field studies, the heritage roots of the trees of the Mekedatu submergence area go in search of water, wherein the roots penetrate through Lineaments for water in the pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons respectively.
Therefore, the natural vegetation of the monsoon forests which feels the vibrations of wind and rain has evolved genetically to facilitate infiltration through the root biomass vertically and laterally. Additionally, the root biomass gently creates nano-millimeter crevices for infiltration.
Furthermore, this hydrological service enhances porosity in the hard and semi-hard rock systems throughout the lineaments (faults) due to geo-morphological built structures. The standing joint trees canopies swings because of winds and this swing also facilitates the trunk to swing invisibly which impacts both lateral and vertical root systems.
With the arrival of pre-monsoon showers, the gentle flow of rain water from the canopy to the branches to the trunk flows and further softens the crevices. In fact, this action of softening helps greatly. The trees get the incredible ability to flow and penetrate and disintegrate the porosity; this function enhances the porosity in the soil profile to the depth of 20 to 40 ft.
The semi-hard and hard rock system also disintegrate the root system and forms organically converted soft biomass. This holds rainwater to maintain the water supply during the lean, dry season.
As soon as the quantity of water decreases, the foliage starts weathering and if the stress increases, small things will shed to reduce the exposed leaf area to maintain the vital parts of the stem and leaf biomass. Lean period (summer months) which is about 200-250 days get adequate moisture level from these Lineaments.
IMPACT OF SUBMERGENCE IN MEKEDATU
The submerged area will accumulate stagnant water, followed by clay, silt and colloidal particles which will fill up, clogging the Lineaments. Because of clogging of lineaments, there will be a conversion – from the living to the dead system of the natural water resources; in the process, silt will go and clog the Lineaments.
There will be no infiltration of water for thousands of acres of the affected land. So, Underground Aquifers will vanish.
The underground mechanism in Mekedatu Geo-Hydrology will disappear with the impact of clogging of the lineaments. Further, evapotranspiration (loss of water from the soil both by evaporation and by transpiration from the plants growing thereon) will vanish. Once the underground system is damaged, there will only be evaporation resulting in the disappearance of evapotranspiration.
For more than 200-250 sun-blast days, surface evaporation occurs more rapidly than evapotranspiration which maintains atmospheric moisture levels during the lean period. With the result, dissection of inbuilt air, moisture content and water cycle occur and so, climate regulation will be altered dramatically.
NONE OF THESE SIGNIFICANT, FAR-REACHING ASPECTS HAVE BEEN MENTIONED IN THE PRE-FEASIBILITY REPORT.
300 to 400 native trees facilitate the groundwater recharge and the submergence of this unique geo-hydrological system will have a tremendous negative impact.
In fact, many studies have proved that forests are the mother of rivers and such man-made interventions with clogging of Lineaments and their unbelievable connection to living vegetation systems will vanish permanently. In fact, no mechanism can recreate these geo-morphological water veins underground.
(THE AUTHOR WHO IS A GIS EXPERT HAS DONE THIS EXCLUSIVE STUDY IN COORDINATION WITH A RETIRED INDIAN FOREST SERVICE OFFICER.)