Release of Krishna water to the city disrupted as agitators close KP canal shutters

The Telangana issue and the turmoil in Andhra Pradesh have had an impact on the drinking water supply to Chennai. In the last two days, the release of Krishna water to the city was disrupted as agitators in the neighbouring State attempted closing shutters enroute.

Water Resources Department (WRD) officials said the volume of water received at Uthukottai, Tiruvallur district — Tamil Nadu’s entry point of Kandaleru Poondi canal — dwindled to 65 cubic feet per second (cusecs) on Tuesday. (One cusec is equal to 2.4 million litres per day (mld)).

Agitators closed the shutters of the canal near Thottambedu and Kalahasti. Officials in Andhra Pradesh re-opened the shutters soon but the flow of Krishna water reduced to less than 100 cusecs. The water discharge was suspended in three or four places as a mark of protest.

However, the WRD officials here are confident that the water discharge would improve in the coming days. The Kandaleru reservoir that supplies water to Chennai has been getting a steady inflow from the reservoirs upstream and has storage of 15 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft). On Tuesday, about 600 cusecs was released into the 152 km-long Kandaleru Poondi (KP) canal.

“We must be receiving a minimum of 250 cusecs at Poondi reservoir after release of water to Tirupathi and Kalahasti,” said an official.

Officials in the State are in constant communication with their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh to ensure that Krishna water flows to Chennai at the usual rate. “We have so far received 1.24 tmcft of water since July. This helped in maintaining the drinking water supply at a rate of 550 mld on alternate days,” said an official.

With the available resources in the reservoirs, including those at Poondi, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam, Chennai could be supplied with drinking water for three more months.

Meanwhile, work to repair a stretch of the KP canal and build an aqueduct to allow the Ubbalamadugu stream near Tada to flow freely beneath the canal is expected to be completed by this year-end. Once it is ready, Chennai can receive as much as 1,000 cusecs of Krishna water.

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