Andhra Pradesh irrigation officials have defended the state’s move to draw additional water from the Krishna river by widening the Pothireddypadu canal, while also accusing Telangana of carrying out several irrigation projects since bifurcation without the required approvals.
Days after the Telangana government filed a complaint with the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB), alleging that the new irrigation project planned by Andhra was illegal and in violation of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014, Andhra Pradesh Special Chief Secretary for Water Resource Adityanath Das wrote to the KRMB defending the decision.
The river-sharing controversy was triggered after a recent government order (GO) from Andhra Pradesh allowing the expansion of the Pothireddypadu head regulator canal system, which would allow the state to draw an additional 6 top 8 tmcs (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna river water per day, from the Srisailam reservoir.
The letter said that Telangana had taken up five new projects since the states’ bifurcation in 2014, for utilising 150.53 tmcs of Krishna river water with an ayacut of 16.87 lakh acres, adversely affecting the drought-prone area of Rayalaseema, and Nellore and Prakasam districts. Adityanath Das alleged that the projects had been carried out without taking the approval of KRMB, Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Apex Council, as mandated by the AP Reorganisation Act. He added that Andhra Pradesh has lodged its protests several times in the past over these projects.
The five projects named in the letter are the Palamuru-Rangareddy LIS (Lift Irrigation Scheme), Dindi LIS, Bhaktha Ramadas LIS, the water grid project under Mission Bhagiradha and Tummilla LIS. The letter also mentioned that the scope of existing projects of Kalwakurthi LIS, Nettampadu LIS and Srisailam Left Bank Canal were enhanced from 77 tmc to 105.4 tmc, with the ayacut increased from 7.2 lakh acres to 9.93 lakh acres.
Defending the expansion of the Pothireddypadu head regulator canal system, the letter stated that currently, the head regulator is only able to draw water fully when the water levels are above 881 ft. It also said that the scope for “full drawal” is only available on 10-15 days a year.
The state will restrict itself to draw water within Anddhra’s allocation made by Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal, the letter said, adding that there will be an adverse impact on Telangana.
In another letter to the GRMB (Godavari River Management Board), Adityanath Das wrote that Telangana had executed several new projects across the Godavari river as well without furnishing DPRs (Detailed Project Reports) to the GRMB and Apex Council, without the allocated made by any Tribunal and without any agreement with Andhra Pradesh.