Nagarjunasagar water for Andhra Pradesh to leave Hyderabad parched

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Hyderabad: The ongoing tussle between Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh for sharing water from the Nagarjunasagar dam could result in a drinking water problem in the city.

The minimum water level in the dam should be maintained at 510 feet to supply water to the city from the Krishna river. However, the existing level is just 511 feet and this is expected to fall to 503 feet due to evaporation because of the heat conditions prevailing at the moment. If more water is released to AP, as is being demanded, the level will fall further and make the water pumps lifting water to the city, dysfunctional.

The Nagarjunasagar dam alone provides about 70 per cent of the city’s drinking water needs. The same situation cropped up in 2014 when TS and AP were engaged in a bitter battle for a share in Nagarjunasagar water. This time the HMWS&SB has a cushion and can forego some amount of Nagarjunasagar water, unlike in 2014 when there was a severe drought.

Reservoirs can’t match Nagarjunasagar loss
The ongoing tussle between TS and Andhra Pradesh for sharing water from the Nagarjunasagar dam could result in a drinking water problem in the city. This year, there are reasonable water levels in Osmansagar, Himayathsagar, Singur, and Manjeera projects due to good rain in September 2016 and the government’s decision not to use the water from these reservoirs since the city is getting adequate water from the Krishna and Godavari rivers.

However, the water board does not think water from these reservoirs will compensate for the loss of Nagarjunasagar water. Managing director of the water board M. Dana Kishore has written to the irrigation department requesting that water in the reservoir be maintained at 510 feet to enable water to be supplied to the city.

But the irrigation department has ruled this out because of the prevailing heat conditions and AP’s demand for more water. The TS government’s irrigation adviser R. Vidyasagar Rao says water can be pumped even if the level falls below 500 feet; but, for that, the pumping motors should be reinstalled at lower levels.

However, Mr Dana Kishore, in his letter, pointed out that “the pumps at AMRP are designed in such a way that they can lift water from Nagarjunasagar only when the water is above 510 feet.

Therefore, maintaining that level at the dam is necessary for the Krishna drinking water to reach Hyderabad. Though water can be drawn even if the level is 505 ft, the discharge level of motors would come down drastically and would also damage the capacity of the motors.”

Water from the Nagarjunsagar reservoir is lifted by pumps at Alimineti Madhava Reddy Project (AMRP) in Puttangadi and stored at the Akkampally balancing reservoir from where it reaches Hyderabad.

In undivided AP, when the water level in Nagarjunasagar fell below 510 ft, the state government used to release water from Srisailam to meet the city’s water needs. But after bifurcation of the state, AP has refused to release water from Srisailam, citing its own needs.

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