With the water level touching rock bottom in all the major reservoirs on the Krishna river the Krishna delta farmers wait with bated breath for rains.

Preparing the fields for raising green manure, cotton and paddy, the farmers are hoping that the monsoon would become active soon. As per general practice, water is released to the Krishna delta from Nagarjuna Sagar on June 15. This was not followed during the nine-year TDP rule and the Congress included it in its election manifesto to woo the farmers. But even the Congress was not in a position to release water in accordance with its promise for the past few years. Poor and delayed rains in the Krishna river basin and taking up of works to modernise the irrigation system in the delta were two primary reasons for the Government’s failure to release water in time.

This year too the tentative date for release of water has been fixed as July 15, one month behind. The Krishna delta that has enjoyed irrigation for over 150 years is slowly being converted into a rainfed area. The Alamatti and Narayanapur reservoirs located in Karnataka are literally empty with the Central Water Commission (CMC) Reservoir Storage Monitoring System showing the gross storage in them as zero.

Nearly 130 tmcft is required for filling Alamatti, 38 tmcft for Narayanpur, 8.5 tmcft for Jurala, 178 tmcft for Srisailam and 162 tmcft for Nagarjuna Sagar Project, making it 516 tmcft in all. Very heavy precipitation is required in Maharashtra and Karnataka for the filling of these reservoirs.

Nagarjuna Sagar is the only reservoir with just 18 tmcft for irrigation as for department norms. But the level is 520 feet, just 10 feet above the cut-off level of 510 feet. The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered that the water level in NSP should never fall below 510 feet to ensure that drinking water was available for Hyderabad city.

Agriculture Department Deputy Director Balu Nayak says farmers in Krishna district were preparing their fields to sow cotton, paddy and sun hemp (green manure). While there was a requirement of 2.41 lakh packets of cotton seed, 4.43 lakh packets (450 gm each) were available.