Water sharing: AP crosses the line again

Hyderabad: Well before Telangana could place its water indent before the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) for the season, Andhra Pradesh staked its claim for its due from the 53 tmc live storage available in Srisailam and started drawing water before any permission was issued on Wednesday.

The Pothireddypadu head regulator was opened in the morning to release some 2,000 cusecs and by evening, the volume went up to 6,000 cusecs. KRMB rushed two senior officials to the head regulator to monitor the situation.Since the telemetry system installed at Pothireddypadu is not giving real time data on the water drawls, the board officials are making efforts to install one more telemetry system with side-looking doppler sensors some 3 km downstream.

AP asked for permission to draw 9 TMC from the Srisailam backwaters through the Pothireddypadu head regulator to meet the urgent drinking water needs in Kurnool and Kadapa districts. It asked for another 7.5 tmc to be drawn from the Nagarjuna Sagar Right Canal to meet the drinking water needs in Prakasham and Guntur districts. It also wanted permission to draw another 5 TMC from the Handri Neeva Sujala Shravanthi to meet the drinking water scarcity in Anantapur and Chittoor districts.

In a letter addressed to KRMB, the Chief Engineer of AP Irrigation Department said the Srisailam reservoir level reached 850.90 ft. The gross storage touched 82.01 tmc and the storage available above the minimum draw down level of 834 ft is about 53.85 TMC, while the inflows continue to be in the range of 2 lakh cusecs. The flow is likely to continue for a few more days.Since the drawl from the Pothireddypadu head regulator was stopped in the last week of January 2018, the districts of Kadapa and Kurnool were in need for augmentation of drinking water supply. The NSP right canal was also closed in April last after Rabi schedule. Different towns and villages in Guntur and Prakasham were facing water shortage.

Districts in Rayalaseema also experienced deficit rainfall and have meager storage in reservoirs. AP called for a board meeting soon to discuss the water releases. KRMB chairman HK Sahu said the board is waiting for the indent of Telangana also. “We will call for a three-member committee meeting instead of a board meeting to decide on the water sharing for July and August,” he said.