Major reservoirs present pathetic picture

Hopes of farming in kharif recede

Although the figures about the progress of cultivation in the ongoing kharif season present a promising picture with sowing/transplantation operations completed in over 80% of the total planned extent so far, the empty reservoirs are reflecting a hard truth about the uncertainty over irrigation under the major projects.

Very low water levels (storage) in all major reservoirs in Telangana State, both in the Krishna and Godavari Basins, are presenting a pathetic picture even in the third week of August, fast depleting the hopes of kharif cultivation in their ayacut. None of the projects in the State have received any major flood so far this monsoon season, even as the projects in the upper riparian States have got good inflows.

Almatti project in Karnataka has received over 156 TMC ft flood so far this season and about 40 TMC ft has been utilised for irrigation purposes under it and Narayanpur reservoir in its downstream. Jurala project in the State, the gateway of Krishna water for the two Telugu-speaking States, however, has received only 13 TMC ft flood, mostly from Bhima river, a tributary of Krishna, and due to rains in the local catchment areas.

It’s a different picture altogether in Godavari below Kaleshwaram in the State, the point where Pranahita confluences with it, as about 250 TMC ft water has gone into sea from there out of about 391 TMC ft water let into the sea from Dowleswaram in Andhra Pradesh.

The storage of water as on August 19 in the two major projects, Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar, which hold key for irrigation and drinking needs of the two Telugu-speaking States, is the lowest in the last 15 years and standing at 20.56 TMC ft and 115.78 TMC ft, respectively.

Srisailam had poor water storage by this date only on three other occasions during the last decade-and-a-half since 2003 with 30.32 TMC ft in 2015, 52.37 TMC ft in 2003 and 82.06 TMC ft in 2012, out of its gross capacity of 215.81 TMC ft.

More worrying factor, however, is that water in Srisailam is about 120 TMC ft less than the minimum draw down level (MDDL) and in Nagarjunasagar it is about 16 TMC ft less than MDDL.

“The fact that Srisailam is holding less than 10% water of its gross capacity and it’s only 38% in case of Nagarjunasagar is more concerning,” a senior engineer associated with the two projects said.

With the time for kharif cultivation under projects, particularly that of paddy, is fast running out the farmers are losing hopes on the first crop with the two major projects requiring 400 TMC ft water for reaching their capacity.

The position of projects in the Godavari Basin is no different either as Sriramsagar, Nizamsagar, Lower Manair Dam and Yellampally having only water kept for drinking needs. Singur has over 17.5 TMC ft storage but it is mainly due to water kept unutilised since last year for keeping drinking needs of Hyderabad.

“Good inflows by this period last year have helped us give water to 4.97 lakh acres ayacut for kharif under Sriramsagar, but the reservoir has received only about 1.2 TMC ft flood this year”, another engineer explained.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 6:06:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/major-reservoirs-present-pathetic-picture/article19526705.ece

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