Vijayawada: The bonhomie between AP and Tamil Nadu may be strained if the former fails to release 15 tmc-ft of drinking water to Chennai from the Srisailam project between July and December. This, as the Telangana government is drawing water from the project illegally for power generation.
AP water resources authorities say the Telangana government started drawing water from Srisailam project even when the water level in the reservoir was at dead storage level of 810ft against full reservoir level of 885ft from the third week of June. So far, 12 tmc ft of water was drawn.
As per the Srisailam project protocol, water can be drawn from the project for hydel power generation when the water level is more than 834 tmc-ft; and for irrigation needs, when the water level is more than 855ft.
AP maintains that the TS government has started drawing water for power generation by flouting norms as the water level in Srisailam was at the dead storage level. The illegal drawing of water is continuing even as the water level is depleting day-by-day. At present, the water level in the reservoir is 815.80 ft with a storage of 37.86 tmc-ft against the total storage capacity of 215 tmc-ft with the water level being at 885 ft.
Srisailam project is connected to several projects like Pothireddypadu, Veligodu, Telugu Ganga, Brahmasagar reservoir, Khandaleru to Pundi Canal downstream, supplying water for crops in their respective command areas spread over a few lakh acres of land. It also ensures supply of 15 tmc-ft of water to Chennai through Pundi Canal.
Lack of adequate quantum of water in Srisailam reservoir will be having its impact on release of water for both irrigation and for drinking water through other connected projects.
The Krishna river basin spreads over parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Unless there is good rainfall in the catchment areas in the coming days, it will be difficult to get good inflows of water into Srisailam and other projects and ensure supply of water for crops and for drinking water needs as also to Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
Any failure to ensure supply of 15 tmc-ft of water to Chennai in a phased manner from July to December may lead to a strain in the relationship between the two governments.
Srisailam Dam superintending engineer Venkata Ramanaiah said, “The Telangana government has started drawing water from Srisailam project when its water was at dead storage level at 810 ft for power generation, and it is continuing to do this even as the water level is at 815 ft as at present in violation of norms.”
“With an erratic rainfall forecast for the coming days, it will be difficult for Srisailam reservoir and other connected projects to get adequate inflow of water to meet the drinking water and irrigation needs and this applies to supply of water to Chennai too,” he said.
On the other hand, Met department forecasts say several parts of AP would receive normal to slightly above-normal rainfall in July and better rains between July 7 and 22 as a low pressure is likely to form in the north-west Bay of Bengal around July 11.