M. Malleswara Rao

HYDERABAD: The storage capacity of the Tungabhadra reservoir at Hospet in Karnataka has further dwindled from 3,136 MCM to 2,968 million cubic metres (MCM) due to siltation and threatens to reduce inflows to the high level and low level canals of Andhra Pradesh.

The two canals support a vast cropped area and provide drinking water to hundreds of places in Anantapur, Kurnool and Kadapa districts. Built in 1953, the dam was originally designed to store a quantity 3,724 MCM of water.

Besides, the inflows into the dam are found to have been affected following construction of Upper Tunga, Singatalur and other projects by Karnataka in the upper reaches of the Tungabhadra. Fears are being expressed by elected representatives and farmers in the three districts that the inflows may be curtailed further as Karnataka is building another dam, Dandavathi, across the river upstream of Hospet.

AP has held that this dam is being built illegally as also the other projects in the upper reaches.

At present, the two canals which turned into a lifeline for the Rayalseema region which are not getting even one half of their allocated quantity of water from the dam. And a part of whatever little is released from the dam, is being lost midway due to leakages, seepages and illegal drawals by farmers in Karnataka.

With a view to getting its due share of water, Andhra Pradesh has time and again requested Karnataka to stop construction of projects across the river illegally, on one hand, and sought clearance for excavation of a parallel canal from the dam, on the other, for effective drawal of the water to supplement high level canal.

The answer by Karnataka, however, has so far been a firm “no”.