Around 30 towns in the two Telugu states are facing a drinking water crisis.

With water levels dropping in Krishna reservoirs should Telangana and Andhra worry
news Krishna river dispute Sunday, January 15, 2017 - 16:38

Taking into account the constant conflict over sharing Krishna River water between Telangana and Andhra, the Ministry of Water Resources reconstituted a committee this week, to address issues related to its management. 

The committee, which will be headed by former Central Water Commission (CWC) chairman AK Bajaj, will suggest a mechanism to facilitate effective functioning of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) in light of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, PTI quoted the ministry's order as saying. 

This came even as it was reported that around 30 towns in the two states were facing a drinking water crisis as water levels had dropped to barely 64 TMC (thousand million cubic) feet in the two major reservoirs of Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar.

This was compared the full capacity of the Srisailam dam at 216 TMC feet and the Nagarjuna Sagar at 408 TMC feet.

A few days ago, reports suggested that three TMC feet from the Srisailam reservoir went 'missing' as the water was unaccounted for, thereby triggering a fresh round of allegations between the two states.

With summer oncoming, and the two states preparing for their annual clash over water, the KRMB has asked the two states to reveal the actual figures of their consumption.

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 dam, 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 sparks flying between the two states, things have gotten more complicated.

Presently, the KRMB  has allotted 10 TMC feet for the Krishna delta system, 15 TMC feet for Nagarjuna Sagar right canal, 3.1 TMC feet for Nagarjuna Sagar left canal and 7 TMC feet for Handri Neeva Main canal making it a total of 35.1 TMC feet for Andhra. 

For Telangana, it allotted 4 TMC feet to Hyderabad for drinking water needs while an additional 13 TMC feet for the Nagarjuna Sagar left canal, bring the total up to 17 feet.

This would be the status quo till January 19, the KRMB said.

However, this move did not go well with Telangana, which claimed that the order was in favour of its neighbour.

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," Bharti told reporters after the meet.

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

"The report of the joint committee will be sent to the tribunal with a request to allocate the water to the states so that they can go ahead with their respective projects," Bharati added.

However, as of last month, these plans still remained on paper.

IANS Inputs