A 40-year-old man, said to be mentally unstable, ended up opening two crest gates of the Prakasam Barrage on the Krishna river, in Vijayawada.
According to reports, the half-naked man was first noticed by workers on a tea break, who saw him playing with the switches that operated the gates.
By the time they noticed the water flowing out, grabbed him and reset the gates, the damage had been done.
Blaming the negligence of irrigation officials, Deccan Chronicle reported that the incident saw thousands of gallons gush downstream, and led to wastage of water that could have been used by Vijayawada and Guntur for 10 days, according to irrigation experts.
The person, identified as Bangaru Babu, was arrested by the One Town police.
Though the water rushed out at 100 cusecs, TNIE quotes officials claiming that the loss was 'negligible', and saying that the water level in the barrage did not even decrease by a centimetre.
Other reports add that construction equipment including heavy duty rollers were submerged downstream because of the sudden release of water, leaving workers to run for their lives.
Many also raised questions about the security of the barrage, if any person could walk in and open the gates.
The One Town police said that Bangaru was a native of Guntur district, and he breached the premises of the barrage, as no irrigation officials were present at the spot.
While the police are yet to book a case, they are considering how to deal with it, as the man is mentally-challenged, judging from his responses to queries.
State Water Resources Minister D Umamaheswara Rao was also informed about the incident.