Sahyadri Conservation Series: 24 ENVIS Technical Report: 54,  April 2013
Kumaradhara River Basin, Karnataka Western Ghats: Need for Conservation and Sustainable Use
1Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012, India.
2Member, Western Ghats Task Force, Government of Karnataka, 3Member, Karnataka Biodiversity Board, Government of Karnataka
4Member, Tree Authority  Mangalore (Rural),  Government of Karnataka
*Corresponding author:

Hydrological yield in a river basin depends on the landscape structure or land cover in its catchment. Rivers are a natural resource and reaping the benefits of an aquatic ecosystem is the fundamental right of all biological organisms including humans. The Constitution of India ensures clean water as a fundamental right of all citizens. First right to plan and manage water lies with the local community which inhabits the river basin. Leasing rivers / water courses to a private company impinges on the fundamental right of local residents, whose livelihoods are linked to the river and forests since generations. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure the sustainable management of natural resources in the region for the maximum benefit of the economy of a highly productive spice garden-rubber based farming system, than leasing out the vital portion of a river, the lifeline of the local economy, and with threatened flora and fauna for a hydel project. This kind of enterprise for short term gains, destabilizing the local livelihoods and ecosystems, would amount to nothing less than short-sightedness and unwillingness to consider the ground realities.  The premium should be on conservation of the remaining native vegetation of evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, which are vital for the water security (perenniality of streams) and food security (sustenance of biodiversity). In view of this, ecologically and economically unviable Kukke MHS to be shelved as it would also threaten the livelihood of ecosystem people by weakening the food and water security of the region.


We dedicate this report to Ecosystem People of Kumaradhara and Gundia River Basins. We are grateful to Sri. Ananth Ashisar for assigning us the responsibility of preparing this report. We thank Dr. Suresh Kumar Kudoor, Raghunath Hebbar, Karunakara Gogateand all local people who took part in our field work and discussions. Kedar Gogate and Parineeta Dandekar are acknowledged for suggestions on the draft version of the report.


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