Krishna row: Telangana demands Andhra Pradesh stop diverting waters

Published : July 31, 2021 12:41 IST

Krishna water being discharged from 10 Crest Gates of Srisailam Dam in Kurnool on July 30. Photo: SUBRAMANYAM U

The twists and turns in the festering row between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over the sharing of Krishna waters saw another irritant, with Telangana requesting the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) that no water be allowed to be diverted from the Srisailam reservoir until all in-basin needs are met. The Telangana government has also stressed that any water diversion from the Srisailam reservoir should only be allowed after the Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar projects start spilling.

In short, Telangana is demanding that Andhra Pradesh be restrained from diverting Krishna waters to areas outside the Krishna basin right until all in-basin needs are fully met. In the past too, Telangana has continuously requested both the KRMB and the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) that Andhra Pradesh be restrained from diverting Krishna water to areas outside the basin. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has also expressed strong objections to the diversion of Krishna waters to areas outside the basin while there is a desperate need for water in the in-basin parched lands.

In a strongly worded letter to the KRMB Chairman on July 29, C. Muralidhar, Engineer-in-Chief (General), Irrigation and Command Area Development, Telangana, stated that the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-I (KWDT-I) had not allocated water to any project diverting Krishna waters to areas outside the basin from Srisailam. According to Muralidhar, the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, on the pretext of supplying 15,000 million cubic feet (tmc ft) for drinking water purposes to Chennai city, had taken up several schemes to divert Krishna water to areas outside the Krishna basin without any regard to in-basin needs.

In his letter, Muralidhar alleged that Andhra Pradesh, without waiting for requisition from the KRMB and /or the Telangana government to furnish its views and comments, had already resorted to releasing water from Pothireddypadu Head Regulator and Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi (HNSS) from July 25, as evidenced by the Reservoir Storage Monitoring System (RSMS) data on July 26. The letter says: “So far, Telangana has not received any requisition from the KRMB for releases from Pothireddypadu Head Regulator. Hence, AP is conveniently trying to seek permission though it is actually already diverting water.”

Muralidhar also asked that maximum power generation may be allowed from the Srisailam left power house, the Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar project and Pulichinthala power houses in order to meet the demand from Telangana’s lift irrigation schemes and irrigation borewells. Bringing the various concerns of the Telangana government to the KRMB Chairman’s attention, Muralidhar stated that the KWDT-I had considered Srisailam as a hydroelectric project and held that the minimum annual release from the project would be to meet the requirements of the Nagarjunasagar project and Krishna delta canals.

Stated Muralidhar: “Andhra Pradesh should be informed to allow power generation from the right power sluice and restrained from releasing water through Pothireddypadu without consent from the three-member KRMB committee. In this connection, as already informed, Srisailam is basically a hydroelectric project to generate power to meet irrigation requirements of Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam projects.”

Added Muralidhar: “Keeping the inflow pattern in the Krishna basin in mind, power generation may be resorted to full extent feasible to derive maximum benefits. Clause C(1) of 12th Schedule of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act (APRA)-2014 states that the units of APGenco should be divided based on geographical location of power plants. Telangana has been generating hydel power from Srisailam reservoir for the past few weeks by releasing water so as to meet the drinking water requirements of Hyderabad and irrigation requirements of Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam projects.”

Citing its distress situation due to insufficient water even seven years after its formation, Telangana has also reiterated its willingness to sharing the Krishna’s waters with Andhra Pradesh in the 50:50 ratio from the 2021-22 water year until the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal-II gives its final decision.

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