Hyderabad: Guess how much of unutilised water has flowed down the rivers Godavari and Krishna so far this year? With the two rivers in spate on account of heavy rains in their respective catchment areas in Maharashtra and Karnataka, a mindboggling 2,925 TMC of water went waste into the sea. It is precisely this inability to utilise the precious resource that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has been trying to hammer home in the past six years while explaining the need for constructing projects like Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) and Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS).
Just to give a perspective, the unharnessed 2,585 TMC of water from Godavari could have filled projects like Sriramsagar (SRSP) 28 times over or a Jurala project over 35 times with the 340 TMC of water that went waste from the Krishna Basin. The SRSP’s gross storage capacity is a little over 90 TMC, while that of Jurala is 9.65 TMC on Godavari and Krishna, respectively. Thanks to the multi-stage mega KLIS project, Telangana State now boasts of having a 150-km-long water spread in Godavari filled just with the month-long trial run operations of the pumphouses at Annaram and Sundilla. The barrage at Medigadda impounded water from Pranahitha, a tributary of Godavari, which poured water into the river for about 15 days in two spells, helped in lifting about 20 TMC of water to form the backwaters. One can imagine the potential that KLIS holds once all the other packages and links are completed.
Rivers in spate in 2 spells
For the record, Godavari was in spate for 16 days in two spells, mainly on account of floods in Pranahitha, Indrawathi and Shabari, major tributaries downstream of Kaleshwaram, while Krishna was in spate for 14 days in two spells of 10 and four days.
Incidentally, SRSP which is upstream of Kaleshwaram, has hardly received any inflows from the main Godavari river (from Maharashtra’s Babli project) on account of the neighbouring State impounding water in various projects. The reservoir, against its gross storage capacity of about 90 TMC, has just about managed to get less than a third of its capacity. This fact makes the location of the main KLIS barrage at Medigadda critical, as the Chief Minister has repeatedly pointed out.
Coming to Krishna, the water levels in almost all the projects on the river, including Almatti and Narayanpur in Karnataka, Jurala in Telangana, and the common projects between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State, Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar, were all below the minimum drawdown levels before the monsoon began. After the initial scare of a scanty monsoon, the catchment areas reported heavy rainfall resulting in floods and filled all the projects to the brim.
Highest storage in NSP
The Krishna river has so far given a yield of 1319.73 TMC of water so far in the current water year. The present storage in the Krishna basin projects and utilisation in the command area accounted for 980 TMC.
The utilisation under the Krishna projects in the first 100 days of the water year was 8.08 TMC under Alamatti, 35. 56 TMC under Narayanpur, 21. 68 TMC under Jurala, 95.53 TMC under Srisailam, 53.11 TMC under Nagarjunasagar. So far as gross storage is concerned, NSP has the highest of 179.503 TMC followed by Srisailam with 178 TMC.