With the city facing an acute water problem and the groundwater table depletion causing concern, the time has come for thinking of alternative sources to quench the thirst of the city. Two projects, one on Sileru, in addition to the existing one, and another on Tadikavagu, a tributary of Sileru, should be taken up to bring in 13 tmcft of water to Visakhapatnam, suggests retired deputy chief engineer of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant A.V.L. Bhujanga Rao. The one on Sileru generates 109 million units of power.

The masonry dam on Sileru is envisaged at a full reservoir level of 244 m and a height of 45 m keeping in view the Donkarayi dam level. Alimeru, Intaluri, Donkarayi streams and 20 other streams are the sources of water. The 2,200 cusecs of water required to run the turbine for power generation will be released into the Sileru and flows into the Godavari and can be drawn from the Kateru lift scheme. The 11.5 tmcft of water will be a great boon for the city as the completion of Polavaram project will take a long time, points out Mr. Bhujanga Rao. It will provide water to 50,000 acres of the Godavari delta during the Rabi crop. He estimates that the project costing Rs.300 crores has excellent financial viability. The generation of power costs only 30 paise a unit and he has a design for the power project, he says. Sold at Rs.3 a unit, it will get Rs.33 crores. The water supply estimated at the rates of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation will get Rs.220 crores per annum and crop yield of 1 lakh tons of paddy.

Dam on Tadikavagu

The earthen dam on Tadikavagu is estimated to yield 1.51 tmcft of water and costs Rs.10 crores. It generates 16.5 million units of power and does not submerge much forest land.

Mr. Bhujanga Rao, recipient of cash awards from the Central Board of Irrigation of Power and Irrigation, New Delhi, and the Institution of Engineers, Hyderabad and Kolkata and the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, had worked in the Lower Sileru project from 1969 to 1981, from the beginning till the completion of the project. He had discussed the projects with top officials of the then APSEB who appreciated them.

“I have worked out the two schemes way back in 1988. They have been relevant since then and acquire urgency in public interest in view of the present precarious water condition the city is facing. I do not know whether I will see any work taken up in near future,” he says.

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