Sumit Bhattacharjee

Letting water into the sea will not help: experts' panel

  • Water and Power Consultancy report recommends the option of joining sthe sea
  • Experts' panel favours conversion of land after spillway into subsidiary reservoir

    VISAKHAPATNAM: The construction of a defined channel to drain the surplus water from Meghadrigedda reservoir into the sea could only be a short-term solution to inundation of the Visakhapatnam airport.

    While a report submitted by WAPCO (Water and Power Consultancy), an agency employed by the State Government, says water could be let into the sea behind the airport, another study submitted by a panel of retired engineers of the irrigation department says the proposal to divert the surplus waters of Meghadrigedda and Kondagedda into the seais not feasible. This difference of opinion raises a doubt in the minds of people as crores of rupees were being pumped by the Ministry of Defence, State Government and Airports Authority of India (AAI) into its expansion.

    The panel comprising former superintending engineer of the Irrigation Department, B. Brahmanaiah, executive engineers T.V.S. Sastri and N.S.R. Avadhanulu, and consulting engineer, S. Gopal Sastry had submitted a paper to the State Government indicating the lacunae.

    Word of caution

    According to them, the distance from Meghadrigedda reservoir to the sea is around 12 km., and as per the basic law of channelling water, the bed fall or slope should be calculated as one metre for every kilometre. The bed level at the reservoir point is seven metres. So, by the time it touches the sea, the level goes below the surface area by minus five metres.

    General manager (engineering project) of AAI, H.S. Suresh, saying it was only an apprehension, added a word of caution that if there was a high tide during floods there could be a problem, as the receding time of the flood water would be slow.

    On whether the airport was situated at the wrong site, he said it was the decision of the Government. "We had submitted our reports and the Government had its own feedback. The decision was taken based on the history of floods which showed such flooding occurred once every 10 years."

    According to Brahmanaiah and party, the best solution would be to convert 57.20 square metres of land immediately after the existing spillway, at the reservoir, to a 350 million cubic feet subsidiary reservoir near Pedagadili. This would hold the excess water of both the Megadrigedda reservoir and the Kondagedda stream. Surplus water from this reservoir could be diverted to the sea via a connecting drain to the Borramgedda that flows into the sea somewhere after the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.