Poor rainfall this year has resulted in acute shortage of water at Bandipur National Park in Karnataka. The forest department is making use of solar pumps in an attempt to better the situation.
Out of a total of 250 ponds and lakes in the park that’s home to tigers among other wildlife, only 15 have water now. This has urged the Forest Department to employ the use of solar-powered water pumps to fill up the partially dried-up ponds and lakes. The project is being extended to other ponds at the tiger reserve by the authorities. Water will be pumped into six big lakes to make sure that they do not go dry.
The earlier plan was to make use of electrical pumps for this purpose. But wildlife experts were of the opinion that such a move would disturb the ecological and biological balance of the reserve.
Each of these solar- power driven water pumps has been set up with an estimated cost of 10 lakhs. They have been installed at Southekere and Kundakere in Omkar range. At Dasanakatte, new borewells have been dug and water is being continuously pumped into lakes. Each solar powered unit generates up to 5100 watts of power. This power has the capacity to pump 3 litres per second amounting to about 10000 litres of water per hour.
To ensure that the solar panels are not damaged and that animals are not harmed by these devices, they have been installed to 15 to 20 feet above the ground level and a trench has been dug around them. The forest range regions of N. Begur, Tavarekatte, Hulikatte and Anekatte, Gundre and Omkar are areas facing acute water shortage. This has forced wild animals, particularly, elephants to move out to other areas. Forest officials have reported that the elephants are headed towards Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and Kabini backwaters where water is scarce. This is expected to last till January.
The use of solar power to resolve the water crisis was implemented at Nagarhole National Park. A borewell was sunk near the Tiger Tank in Antharasanthe range and water pumped using solar pumps. The success of this project encouraged the forest officials to implement it in Bandipur.
Bandipur National Park spread over 1,200 sq. km wide is home to over 2,000 elephants, 120 tigers, leopards, bears, deer and countless reptiles and bird species. It is rated as one of the best parks in India for animal sightings, especially tigers.