Paddy growers are set to face problems for water in rabi season in the Godavari delta region in the wake of a sharp decline in the yields in the Godavari. The Godavari delta region with an ayacut of nearly 9 lakh acres comprises western, eastern and central delta systems falling under East and West Godavari districts. The West Godavari District Irrigation Advisory Board has stabilised 4.6 lakh acres with an assured irrigation facility for the rabi crop.

‘Turn system’

The district administration has resorted to ‘turn system’ for water distribution to the stabilised ayacut through the canal network in a bid to overcome the present water stress conditions.

The Superintending Engineer, Western Circle of the Irrigation department, said that the stabilised ayacut was divided into two turns and water is supplied for five days for each turn.

According to official sources, 6,600 cusecs of water is presently available in the Godavari river in the form of self-yields and the quantum being released from the Sileru after use for hydel power generation. At least 8,000 cusecs of water is required to save the standing crop in the three delta regions.

The irrigation authorities at the Dhavaleswaram Barrage are releasing only 3,280 cusecs into the western canals meant for the fields in West Godavari district, against the requirement of 4,000 cusecs. Consequently, the farmers in the tail-end areas and high-level patches are already feeling the effect of the water crisis.

Transplantation in the delta area was completed by February 5 and the crop is in a tillering stage now. The MTU-1010 variety was raised as a principal variety in the delta which takes 120 days for harvesting.

Although rabi season is prone to water crisis every year, the Sileru, a tributary of the Godavari which flows through the Telangana region, comes to the aid of the delta farmers at a time when the crop is in at a critical stage.

“Such hopes have become bleak now with the creation of the Telangana State. We do not know how to save our crops in this season,” says a worried M.V. Suryanarayana Raju of the Godavari Delta Parirakshana Samithi.

A series of cyclones caused extensive crop damages in the kharif season in the Godavari delta which brought the elected representatives and the administration under tremendous pressure from farmers for the ayacut stabilization in full during the rabi regardless of portends from the irrigation personnel over the water crisis in the river.