Hyderabad may stare at a severe water crisis soon, as the Telangana governmentâ€™s request to maintain a water level of 510 feet in the Nagarjuna Sagar dam has reportedly been turned down by the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).
The Nagarjuna Sagar dam has to maintain a water level of 510 feet, to ensure supply to Hyderabad.
According to a report in Deccan Chronicle, the KRMB stated that it was also not possible to release water from Srisailam to Nagarjuna Sagar, as both of them were already at the minimum level required, to ensure drinking and irrigation water needs of Telangana and Andhra.
This could essentially mean that Hyderabad will have to look for alternative sources of water, to bridge any shortage that could arise.
Speaking to TNM, Chief Engineer of the Nagarjuna Sagar Project for Telangana, S Suneel, says that there are many bones of contention.
As far as irrigation is concerned, he says, "The first issue is that the KRMB is giving its release orders, without taking into consideration, the capacity of the left canal."
Suneel explains that the Nagarjuna Sagar's left canal is divided into three zones. While Zone 1 is entirely in Telangana and Zone 3 is entirely in Andhra, Zone 2 runs zig zag between the two states.
"The full capacity of the reservoir is 590 feet. When the water is full, the capacity of the left canal to pump water is 11,000 cusecs. Now, whenever the water level falls below 520 feet, the pumping capacity also goes down to around 6,000 or 7,000 cusecs," Suneel says.
"This pressure is only enough to pump water to Zone 1 and Zone 2. However, even Andhra is demanding water, and the present pressure isn't enough to meet the demands of all three zones," he adds.
Suneel also says that the KRMB was ignoring the amount of water that was being lost in transportation, due to reasons like evaporation, and also delaying the water release from the Sri Sailam dam.
"At present, the water level in the Nagarjuna Sagar dam is at 512 feet. We are trying to ensure that it stays at least above 510 feet till April 15, but it looks unlikely," he adds.
Suneel blames the water shortage on the Andhra state government, saying that their water demands were rising with each year.
"Even though we received more infalls in the Krishna basin this year, Andhra has been asking for more, and we can't meet their demands. If the situation gets worse, the Telangana government might have to install extra pumps along the way, to ensure more water supply to Hyderabad," he says.
However, he adds that drinking water can be drawn from the reservoir, even if it falls to 507 or 508 feet.
"Last year too, the water was below 510 feet, but we managed," he says.
Telangana and Andhra have been warring over the water ever since their bifurcation in 2014.
There are two major dams on the Krishna River that lie on the border - the Srisailam dam which is upstream and the Nagarjuna Sagar dam which is downstream.
While Telangana has alleged that Andhra was resorting to diversion of a huge quantity of water from the Pothireddypadu head, Andhra objected to "illegal projects" like Palamuru-Ranga Reddy and Dindi being taken up by Telangana.
This latest development also comes a few days after the AK Bajaj Committee, that was formed by the Centre to resolve the Krishna river water dispute between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, refused to pronounce a verdict for now.
According to reports, the committee has instead written to the Centre, seeking a clarification on its role in deciding the water sharing.