With the tanks in the forests running dry, making life miserable for the denizens of the forest including the elephants, the Forest Department, in a first of its kind venture, is replenishing the tanks with water using water tankers on a daily basis.

This measure has been taken up in Nagarahole and Bandipur forests since the past two weeks, said ACF (Wildlife, Hunsur sub-division) K.D. Belliappa.

Belliappa told SOM this morning that though majority of the tanks in the Nagarahole Reserve Forest had ample water to last for another month or two, only the tanks in Veeranahosalli Range had gone dry and as such, the tanks in Rajagowdanakatte and Bidirukuppe region were being replenished with water after removing only a portion of the silt, as removing the entire silt deposit would lead to speedier percolation of water.

CF Kantharaju of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, when contacted in this regard, said that there is sufficient water in the 224 tanks in Bandipur to last till Feb. end.

A team of experts, headed by Chief Wildlife Warden Raman Sukumar, will be visiting Nagarahole and Bandipur on Feb. 6 and 7 to study the water-availability situation and based on their recommendations, steps will be taken to replenish the tanks in forests with water using tankers, said Kantharaju.

In order to provide drinking water to elephants and other animals of the forest, plans are afoot to provide concrete rings (shallow cisterns) by burying them into the ground and filling them with water periodically or to lay plastic sheets in the dry tanks and fill them with water.

Since diesel generators cannot be used in the forests to pump water as it would cause noise disturbance to the wild animals, the water tankers will have to be transported using tractors, for which the Department’s permission will be required, said Kantharaju and added that efforts were on to try high-tech solar powered generators to lift water.

Meanwhile, there are also objections from some quarters to the idea of providing water artificially as the wild animals are used to natural habitats and harsh weather conditions.