Project to utilise 40 tmcft of surplus water of Krishna to irrigate 6.02 lakh acres in Kurnool, Anantapur, Kadapa, Chittoor districts
Sir Arthur Cotton, that master tamer of rivers in India, gave Dowleswaram anicut to Coastal Andhra but gave up the plan to build another one across the Godavari at Inchampalli which would have immensely benefited what is now called Telangana.
This perhaps was due to his realisation that outflow of water by gravitation to lands on contours located far higher than the river bund level, would be impossible unless a massively high anicut was constructed at Inchampalli for a high impounding. Technology was unavailable to lift large quantity of water to such heights. He left Inchampalli as he was struck by malaria.
Irrigation chroniclers say that the droughts faced by Rayalaseema through ages were more appalling than the ones that struck Konaseema prompting Cotton to build Dowleswaram. They say that Cotton wanted to divert Krishna water to this rain-shadow region but abandoned the idea as it would involve lifting the water to a height.
Hundri-Neeva has come up as a giant lift scheme in fulfilment of his dream more than one and half centuries after he left the scene. Given the geographical conditions, there could not have been any better solution to Rayalaseema.
Completion of its first phase and release of water from Srisailam reservoir by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, is the first success story of the much flayed Jalayagnam from Rayalaseema, a region which even now depends on tanks developed by emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya as assured sources of water.
NTR took up Hundri-Neeva based on designs prepared by K. Sriramakrishnayya. As it turned out, it has been implemented without a link between the rivers Hundri and Neeva as originally planned. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy included it in his Jalayagnam as a Rs 6,850-crore mega lift project and undertook works through fast-track.
Hundri-Neeva promises to become the region’s lifeline as it would utilize 40 tmcft of surplus water of the Krishna to irrigate 6.02 lakh acres in Kurnool, Anantapur, Kadapa and Chittoor districts and meet drinking needs of 33 lakh people, both through a 550-km long canal, the second longest in India. Water would be pumped up from Srisailam at Malyala in Kurnool district, lifted to an awesome 1,110 ft height and pushed into Adavipalli reservoir at the canal’s last point lying in far-flung Chittoor district.
Phase I comprises 216 km length of the canal with stretches of eight giant pipelines going in a row supported by pumps, connecting three reservoirs Krishnagiri, Pattikonda and Jeedipalli.
Now, only two tmcft is being lifted to fill Jeedipalli although 14 tmcft is envisaged under this phase. A sum of Rs 2,783 crore has been spent on the project overall so far.