All major and medium irrigation projects across two perennial rivers, Krishna and Godavari, are almost filled.
At a time when Kerala is devastated by three weeks’ of continuous rains, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have immensely benefitted from the August downpour. All major and medium irrigation projects across two perennial rivers, Krishna and Godavari, are almost filled.
Around 600 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of water is added to around a dozen reservoirs in the Telugu states within three weeks. This has relieved irrigation and agricultural authorities, who were dismayed over poor rainfall in June and July which precedes the southwest monsoon, pivotal to Kharif operations.
The raising water levels in these major projects mean more than that meets the eye. Not just the filled reservoirs would guarantee enough water for the next two crops, Kharif and Rabi, and thus ensure bumper harvest of food grains and commercial crops, but it will also solve the perennial drinking water problem in thousands of villages and increase the ground water tables.
The invisible but significant import of good inflows into major reservoirs is that the ruling parties—Telangana Rashtra Samithi in Telangana and the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh—can hope to return to power in the next general elections slated to be held in April-May 2019. The leaders of the ruling parties are hopeful that there won’t be power cuts in the next six months as hydro stations have enough water.
Krishna river, which caters to around 15 lakh acres in Telangana and 28 lakh acres in Andhra, has received tremendous inflow to a tune of around 200 tmc in just 10 days in the middle of this month and another 200 tmc in just one week till 24 August, thanks to incessant rains in upstream areas in Karnataka and Maharashtra, where the river originates.
“As inflows from Almatti and Narayanapur reservoirs in Karnataka are heavy, Srisailam reservoir with full storage capacity of 215 tmc now stands at 206 tmc and Nagarjunasagar reservior with full storage capacity of 312 tcm is at 231 tmc,” said Telangana Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao.
The minister announced the release of irrigation water for Nagarjunasagar Left canal that irrigates around eight lakh acres in Telangana, bringing relief to hundreds of villagers whose fate is linked to the crops grown with the water.
Andhra Irrigation Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao released water to the Right Canal that irrigates another eight lakh acres in the state.
For the first time in recent years, Prakasam Barrage on Krishna river, which connects Vijayawada and Guntur districts in Andhra, received bountiful water and the farmers under its 10 lakh acres of ayacut are joyous over getting water for two crops this year.
“Coastal Andhra economy is dependent on good farming season and it would be much better this year,” said an official from AP agriculture department.
There are four or five projects that irrigates water to Rayala Seema in AP and every time there would be a fight for distribution of water among different regions—Andhra, Rayala Seema and Telangana—due to shortage of water in Srisailam reservoir.
Another major Southern river, Godavari, is in spate now, thanks to heavy rains in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, the upstream catchment areas.
Telangana will get irrigation water for its 14 lakh acres from Sriram Sagar and Yellampally Reservoir built over Godavari. Andhra too will get water for its two lakh acres through Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme on the river.
Besides the major reservoirs, both states have received enough water into their medium and minor irrigations systems due to heavy rain this month.
In Telangana, 15000 big tanks have got water 75% and above full storage capacity, while another 7,500 tanks are more than half full. In Andhra, the number is even higher and around 22,000 big tanks are full now.