There is an apocryphal story told about Sir M. Visvesvaraya, a modernist visionary whose 160th birth anniversary this month has gone relatively unnoticed. It is said that when he saw the white cascades of water at the Jog Falls in Karnataka, he exclaimed: “What a waste!” His engineer’s mind saw hydroelectric potential when others saw the raw beauty of the waterfalls.
This noted scholar is best known for his role in the construction of the KRS. Krishna Raja Sagara, also popularly known as KRS, is a lake and a dam that creates it. The gravity dam made of surki mortar is below the confluence of river Kaveri with its tributaries Hemavati and Lakshmana Tirtha, in the district of Mandya.
Construction of the Dam
The then Chief Engineer of Mysore Sir MV presented a blueprint of the dam to be built across the river near the village of Kannambadi. When he faced opposition from the finance ministry, he approached T. Ananda Rao, the Diwan of Mysore, and the Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV for reconsideration. The Maharaja was convinced and issued an order on 11 October 1911 to begin the project and a sum of â¹81 lakh was set aside for it.
Sir MV then had to persuade the imperial government of the Madras Presidency to approve it, which he did. But the original plan to build a dam 194-feet high to hold an estimated 41,500,000,000 cu ft (1.18 km3) of water had to be dropped.
Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV Maharaj of Mysore himself laid the foundation stone for the dam in November 1911. Construction ended in 1931. KRS Dam was the first to install automated Crest gates in 1920, an innovation initiated by Sir. MV.
The Water lifeline for three districts and two states!
It is the main source of irrigation for the districts of Mysore and Mandya and drinking water for all of Mysore, Mandya, and almost the whole of Bengaluru city. The water released from this dam flows into the state of Tamil Nadu.
He was an engineer’s engineer when there were so few around. We must recall all those with a technical bent of mind who have made our lives easier by the day!
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