Hyderabad: The most awaited moment for water-starved Telangana is almost within reach now. The stage has been set for the inauguration of the mega Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation project, the main components of which were completed in a record time of three years.
KLIS, the first major lift-based project of India, will start drawing 2 tmc of water a day from Godavari river to extend irrigation to over 37 lakh acres in the plains of the new State that are placed at a higher elevation, ranging from +300 m to +590 m above sea level.
Gravity-based projects implemented so far to draw water from the Godavari, which flows +100 m above sea level, failed to neither quench the thirst of the people in the region nor meet the irrigation needs of the land. Hence, the multi-package lift irrigation scheme.
It came up with Bahubali pumps and massive damming structures and surge pools for taking water with reverse pumping to help Telangana make use of its rightful riparian share of the Godavari. So far, it has not been able to use even one third of its entitled 954 tmc share from the river.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao laid the foundation stone for the Medigadda barrage on May 2, 2016. The completion of the barrage and commissioning of the pump houses will be a major milestone in the history of the implementation of the project. It facilitates pumping of water from the confluence of the Godavari and Pranhita to the Sripada Yellampally Project. Two more barrages — Annaram and Sundilla — and their lifts were also being readied for commissioning.
At present, lifts were being commissioned with provision to lift 2 tmc per day from Medigadda. The 11 pumping units of 40-MW capacity installed at Kannepalli pumphouse will facilitate lifting of water in the first stage of the project. The water lifted by the pump house would be emptied in the Annaram barrage through a 13.2-km stretch of a gravity canal.
Water will be channeled again from the Annaram barrage, to Sundilla barrage, to Sripada Yellampally Project and finally to Mid Manair. If needed, the 3 tmc of water can be lifted from the Godavari to meet the irrigation and industrial needs of the State at a later stage.
The irrigation potential to be created by the project would be over 18.25 lakh acres. It stabilises almost the same extent the ayacut of the existing projects, including the Sriram Sagar project.
The Rs 80,500- crore project, once completed, will provide 240 tmc of water of which 169 tmc will be utilised for irrigation, 30 tmc for Hyderabad drinking water, 16 tmc for industrial use and 10 tmc for meeting the needs in villages en route. Evaporation losses would be around 15 tmc.
The project will be a combination of 20 new reservoirs, 20 lifts and 19 pump houses. Works on key barrages — Medigadda, Annaram and Sundilla — are almost complete and the remaining are expected to take two more years.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, who visited the project recently as part of his stock-taking exercise, congratulated the engineering staff and officials of other departments for the speedy implementation of the works on the project, which he said entered the crucial final stage.
The Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, Devendra Fadnavis and YS Jaganmohan Reddy respectively, will attend the inauguration of the project on June 21. The project authorities were making elaborate arrangements for the occasion.