Upper Bhadra project could deprive west Rayalaseema of it share of water, say activists

Rayalseema activists say they may not get enough water in a lean rainfall year

Updated - February 02, 2023 09:10 pm IST

Published - February 02, 2023 08:26 pm IST - ANANTAPUR

The Sangameswaram temple in the backwaters of Srisailam reservoir emerges as the water level depletes in the dam on Thursday.

The Sangameswaram temple in the backwaters of Srisailam reservoir emerges as the water level depletes in the dam on Thursday. | Photo Credit: U. SUBRAMANYAM

The decision of the Union government to provide ₹5,300-crore assistance to the Upper Bhadra Lift Irrigation Project, which will divert 29.90 tmcft of water from Tunga and Bhadra to irrigate central Karnataka areas, has created a sense of deprivation among the people of Kurnool and Anantapur districts, as it could deprive them or delay getting their share of allocated water from the Tungabhadra Dam.

Anantapur Municipal Corporation and 160 villages in the undivided Anantapur district get their drinking water from the T.B. Dam through the Tungabhadra High-Level Main Canal, in addition to irrigation needs of Kurnool, Anantapur and Kadapa districts. 

The lifting of 17.40 tmcft from Tunga river upstream of T.B. Dam will delay the filling of the dam in the beginning of the monsoon and the current average water intake starting time of July 20 to July 30 could get pushed to August if there are no sufficient early rains, say Anantapur Urban MLA Anantha Venkatarami Reddy and Public Accounts Committee Chairman Payyavula Keshav. They feel getting the 31.45 tmcft of allocated water will also become a distant dream in future or even in a lean rainfall year.

“It is unfair on behalf of the Centre to ignore the Siddeswaram and Gundrevula projects while according national status to the Upper Bhadra Project. In the second stage, lifting of 29.90 tmcft of water from Bhadra to a tunnel near Ajjampura, in Tungabhadra sub-basin of Krishna basin, will affect the region very badly but the Andhra Pradesh politicians seem to be not bothered about Rayalaseema drought conditions and did not bother about getting funds to bring water to this region despite Finance Minister Bugganna Rajendranath going to New Delhi several times and being in politics for past 10 years,” said Rayalaseema Saguneeti Sadhana Smithi president Bojja Dasaratharami Reddy.

The Rayalseema activists, including Makireddy Purushottama Reddy, Coordinator of Rayalaseema Intellectuals Forum, opined that State government should have pitched for the Rayalaseema Irrigation projects, as during lean years if 30 tmcft is diverted in Upper Bhadra, there will be no water for Rayalaseema districts despite assured allocation.

The Sangameswaram temple, which remains underwater in the backwaters of Srisailam reservoir has emerged and water has gone below its basement, which shows how fast water is depleting and the politicians are not bothered to help bring water to Rayalaseema, said the activists.

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