The Nagarjuna Sagar dam has to maintain 510 feet of water for Hyderabad, and the present water level is at 511 feet and dropping.

Hyderabad may soon go thirsty as Telangana and Andhra bicker over Krishna river water
news Water Thursday, March 02, 2017 - 13:39

Hyderabad may soon be faced with a drinking water crisis, if Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are unable to resolve their dispute over the sharing of Krishna river water.

According to reports, the city needs a minimum water level of 510 feet to be maintained in the Nagarjuna Sagar dam, which meets a major chunk of Hyderabad's water needs. However, the present water level is just 511 feet and is expected to dip further with the onset of summer.  

This comes even as Telangana reportedly plans to lodge a complaint against its neighbour, with the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).

Quoting sources, TNIE reported that Telangana officials accused their Andhra Pradesh counterparts of overshooting their quota of 18.5 TMC feet of Krishna water, by 1.5 TMC feet.

However, Andhra argued that it did not get its due, as a lot of water was lost during transportation due to reasons like evaporation.

Other reports suggested that engineers from Telangana actually reduced the quantity of water being released into the Right Bank Canal for Andhra on Tuesday, making the same claim.

Following this, officials from Andhra rushed to the dam site, and were involved in a heated argument, until it reached the KRMB.

Following the board's intervention, Telangana officials agreed to release 1.1 TMC of water and increased the flow of water to the Right Bank Canal.

Last month, the KRMB held a nine-hour long meeting with officials of the two states.

After the meeting, it was announced that Telangana would get 15.5 TMC feet, while Andhra would get 18.5 TMC feet, out of the total 34 TMC feet available.

Stating that the water should be used to save the standing crops of farmers and also meet the drinking water requirements of the people, the KRMB said that this agreement would be maintained till May.

However, within a month, the two states are at loggerheads again.

History

The battle between the two states laying claim on the water is not new, and has persisted ever since the states split in 2014.

Both states are claiming rights over a limited quantum of water available in the river, which is not sufficient to meet demands.

There are two major dams on the Krishna River that lie on the Telangana-Andhra border - the Srisailam dam which is upstream and the Nagarjuna Sagar dam which is downstream. Both dams also have hydroelectric stations.

Even before bifurcation, many of those who led the Telangana movement had cited water sharing as an issue, claiming that Andhra used most of its Krishna water for the 'Seemandhra' region, thus ignoring people in Telangana.

Initially after bifurcation, it was stated that the water allocations to the two regions would be the same, but its usage would change.

However, after several incidents of non-cooperation, and tension escalating between the two states every year during summer, things have gotten complicated.

Keeping in mind the constant conflict, the Centre has tried to pacify the two states.

In September last year, a meeting was held between Union Minister Uma Bharti, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao along with irrigation ministers and top officials from both the states.

Telangana alleged that Andhra was resorting to diversion of huge quantity of water from the Pothireddypadu head. Andhra objected to "illegal projects" like Palamuru-Ranga Reddy and Dindi being taken up by Telangana.

Telangana also demanded a share in the Krishna water as compensation for Andhra Pradesh diverting Godavari water through the Pattiseema lift irrigation scheme.

After the meeting that lasted for over two hours, the Centre stated that there was agreement on a few issues.

"Telemetry system will be installed wherever they want, for water gauging. Both states wanted this so that we know quantity of water in each river and how much is flowing into each state," Uma Bharti told reporters after the meeting.

It was also agreed that a joint committee, comprising of engineers from the two states and from the Central Water Commission (CWC), will be constituted to study availability of water in the river basin.

However, the work on the telemetry system is yet to begin.

As far as the joint committee is concerned, a Bajaj Committee was formed, which was headed by former chairman of the CWC, AK Bajaj.

After holding meetings with officials of the two states in February, and touring the area, the Committee refused to intervene in the issue.

The Committee had initially expected to resolve the issue easily, but reportedly said that it was not easy, as both governments held 'widely divergent' views.

Members of the Committee headed back to Delhi, saying that they would inform the Centre of the issues raised, and return next month, hopefully with a decision.

 

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