Replacement of gates of the 100-year-old head sluice is long overdue

The existing head sluice of the Krishna Eastern Main (KEM) canal is over hundred years old. The KEM canal divides into three important canals – the Bandar canal which goes to Machilipatnam, the Ryve’s canal named after the engineer who designed and built it and Eluru canal which irrigates land in West Godavari district. The cumulative ayacut of these three canals is 7.47 lakh acres. The water from these canals is used not just for irrigation, but also for drinking purpose by hundreds of villages and Eluru town.

The construction of a modern regulator was long overdue. The sluice gates of the head sluice had to be replaced about a decade ago, but release of water is still a big challenge for the Irrigation Department with the sluice gates getting frequently stuck. Water leaking from the head sluice also created several hygiene problems for people residing in adjoining areas.

The construction of a new regulator at an estimated cost of Rs. 16.50 crore has been proposed as part of the Krishna Delta Modernisation Scheme. The modern regulator has six vents with the capacity to release 10,600 cusecs within minutes. Krishna Central Irrigation Division Executive Engineer P. Gangaiah told The Hindu that almost all the civil works were completed. The contractor -- Patel Engineering Limited – was executing the work as per schedule with regard to the KEM canal regulator, he said. Work on the regulator would be stopped for the season because it was time to re-open the canals, Mr. Gangaiah said. Erecting of the regulator gates would be taken up next year, he added. Putting a percentage to the work done, he said that 85 per cent of the civil work was completed.

On completion of the regulator the height of the hoisting bridge would be 29 metres above the mean sea level (MSL). According to the hydrolytic details, the maximum flood level of the river is 22.5 metres above MSL. The full level of the canal is 16.189 metres and the canal bed level is 12.360 metres MSL.

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