: The Andhra Pradesh government, anticipating inflows into the Nagarjunasagar, has decided to release water to fill 1,002 drinking water tanks in Nalgonda, Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts and for irrigation purpose.

The decision was taken by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah on Tuesday after assessing the storage position in the Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar projects at a meeting with irrigation engineers and officials of the Municipal Administration and Rural Water Supply Departments.

Major Irrigation Minister P. Lakshmaiah and Municipal Administration Minister A. Ramanarayan Reddy told reporters that 310 tmcft (thousand million cubic ft.) of water was available in the Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar reservoirs. Srisailam, which was almost full, was still receiving a heavy inflow of 1.45 lakh cusecs. As such, power was being generated to the full capacity from the hydel stations and 68,000 cusecs of water released in to Nagarjunasagar. Further inflows were expected to both the projects.

The government also released water from Nagarjunasagar to fill 552 drinking water tanks in Nalgonda, Khammam and Krishna districts, and another 450 in Guntur and Prakasam. When these tanks were filled up, the drinking water needs of both rural and urban areas would be met with in full till July next. Such supply would be extended to Miryalaguda and Khammam towns too.

Mr Lakshmaiah said after making provision for drinking water, a quantity of 170 tmcft would be available in NSP for crops. So, water would be released to Zone I (Guntur district) under right bank canal and Zone I and II under left bank canal (Nalgonda and Khammam).

The irrigation advisory boards in these districts, therefore, were asked to indicate their needs within a week after meetings with farmers so that water could be released for crops as well. The boards would have to specify whether farmers in their respective zones would take up irrigated dry crops or paddy.

Pending release of water from Nagarjunasagar, farmers have raised crops on five lakh acres late in the kharif season.

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