Telangana, Andhra Pradesh oppose Karnataka's plan to construct a balancing reservoir across the Tungabhadra

Published : September 30, 2021 16:07 IST

Water being released from Tungabhadra Dam at Munirabad in Koppal district in Karnataka in July. Photo: The Hindu Archives

The festering imbroglio over the sharing of the Krishna river waters between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is threatening to soon involve Karnataka as well.

In May, the Karnataka Cabinet finally revived and cleared a decade-long plan to construct a balancing reservoir with a storage capacity of 40 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) along the Tungabhadra river in Navali, Koppal district, since the State was losing out on its share of Krishna waters because of the silt that has accumulated on the bed of the Tungabhadra dam. Though the storage capacity of the Tungabhadra reservoir is 134.7 tmc ft, thanks to gross mismanagement and because the dam was never desilted, the storage capacity has sunk by 31 tmc ft. The Karnataka Cabinet had given its sanction for the preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) and asked the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam to undertake it.

On August 17, the Karnataka Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol told mediapersons: “As much as 31 tmcft of silt is accumulated on Tungabhadra reservoir bed, reducing its storage capacity. Constructing a balancing reservoir at Navali to store Tungabhadra water ... has been a long-standing demand. The Tungabhadra irrigation project is an inter-State project involving Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. We need to take the consent of the other two States to take up the project. We would shortly convene a meeting of Chief Ministers of all the three States to be chaired by Karnataka Chief Minister and seek consent for the project.”

On hearing about Karnataka’s plans to construct a balancing reservoir at Navali, officials from Andhra Pradesh disclosed that they would construct a parallel canal from Tungabhadra foreshore to draw up to two tmc ft a day. This, they claimed, would forestall Karnataka’s need to construct a new balancing reservoir at Navali on the upstream of the Tungabhadra dam.

Andhra Pradesh also raised objections to Karnataka drawing nine tmc ft of water from small lift irrigation schemes, against what Andhra Pradesh claimed was a quota of only around four tmc ft.

Officials from Telangana’s Irrigation Department who participated in the Tungabhadra Board meeting on September 29 have asked their counterparts from Karnataka to submit a DPR on the proposed balancing reservoir. Even while asking Karnataka to share details of the DPR, Telangana officials made it clear that they were vehemently opposed to the proposal from Andhra Pradesh to construct a parallel canal from the Tungabhadra foreshore.

All three riparian states, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are extremely keen and committed to construct their respective planned irrigation projects and utilise the entire amount of Krishna waters that have been allocated to them by the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal-1 and Tribunal-2.

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