Andhra Pradesh

Anantapur taken by surprise

Anantapur district is known for its dryland and scanty rainfall with the second-lowest annual precipitation recorded after Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, but 2021 November saw a totally different picture apparently due to the impact of climate change, resulting in huge losses to irrigation and road infrastructure.

A look at the rainfall in the district clubbed with the heavy inflows into the four rivers – Chitravathi, Penna, Hagari and Papagni – and a few rivulets like Maddileru from Karnataka, will help understand the magnitude of the damage.

Against the normal 34.7 mm rainfall for November, 202.3 mm was recorded till month-end registering 482.8% excess, the highest in 30 years. On November 19, the district recorded the highest single-day rainfall in 30 years with 19 places receiving more than 100 mm. The southeast and northwest monsoons put together brought 673 mm of rain against the normal of 483.7 mm, 39.1% excess for the entire season.

The district known for the 1,437 ponds and tanks dug by the Vijayanagara kings and people themselves much before that, survives on the water stored in them for drinking and irrigation purposes. But 35 minor irrigation tanks and three medium irrigation sources could not withstand the heavy inflows and suffered bund piping damage, bund leakages, breaches, sluice damage, and holes near the structures.

Minor Irrigation Department alone has estimated the restoration cost at ₹8.87 crore for both temporary and permanent works to be taken up.

The Penna Ahobilam Balancing Reservoir constructed on the Penna, never saw the river flowing to its capacity in 28 years before November requiring the sluice gates to be lifted for allowing water into the spillway. The Hundri Neeva Sujala Shravanthi (HNSS) canal network witnessed damage at 66 places and temporary restoration works were being taken up at a cost of ₹3.47 crore, says HLC and HNSS Superintending Engineer Nayakanti Rajasekhar.

The estimates for permanent repairs are being still made and they could be part of the modernisation plan if the government wishes to restart the stalled projects.

The Tungabhadra Project High-Level Canal modernisation proposals sent by the irrigation officials last year with an estimated ₹1,600 crore investment were returned by the government and no headway has been made since, despite the State losing allocated water. Due to the lower drawal capacity of the canals, for the past several years Andhra Pradesh has been drawing lesser quantum in the entire season.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 4:55:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/anantapur-taken-by-surprise/article37906086.ece

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