Water level in all major dams on the Krishna reaches rock bottom

Krishna delta farmers, who had to forgo Rabi crop, are in jitters over the prospects of having to go without Kharif too. The level of water in all major dams on the Krishna has reached rock bottom. The sowing for Kharif crop was delayed last year as there was no water in the reservoirs.

The major reservoirs in Andhra Pradesh — Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar — will receive water only after the major reservoirs in Karnataka — Almatti and Tungabhadra — are filled.

The position in the two dams of Karnataka is critically low for want of rain in the upper reaches of the Krishna River Basin last year. While the Almatti reservoir is 81 per cent empty, the Tungabhadra reservoir is 76 per cent empty. In terms of volume of water needed to fill the two reservoirs, about 180 tmcft is required, and only then will water be released downstream.

Experts say the problem could be alleviated by completing the Pulichintala project. On completion, the project, with a capacity to hold more than 40 tmcft, would provide water needed for raising nurseries and cover up for the delay in the release of water from the upper reaches.

Panel to go to site

Former Rajya Sabha member and leader of the recently formed Pulichintala Sadhana Samithi Yalamachili Sivaji said the committee had met the Chief Minister towards the end of January and requested him to take an initiative for completion of the project, which would stabilise an ayacut of 13.5 lakh acres. The Chief Minister promised to appoint a Principal Secretary rank officer to monitor the progress of the project once in a fortnight.

“But nothing has happened so far,” he said.

Committee members — Eluru MP Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, Machilipatnam MP Konakalla Narayana, former Minister Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao, and CPI farmers’ wing leader Kolli Nageswara Rao — are planning to go to the project site and see what progress has been made.

Dr. Sivaji says vested interests are trying to make a scapegoat of Karnataka. There is no point blaming a State that has limited resources of water.

During last Kharif, only 3 tmcft was released from Nagarjuna Sagar. But 15 to 20 tmcft had to be released from Prakasam Barrage when rivulets such as Musi, Peleru, and Munneru that join the Krishna downstream of Nagarajuna Sagar dam went into spate.

This is because there are no reservoirs to store water, he says. Water is also being used for power generation, he adds.

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