KRMB urged to stop “unauthorised” Veligonda project

Telangana also asks the River Board to account drinking water releases at 20%

Ahead of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) scheduled on August 27, the Telangana government has addressed two more letters to the River Board on Monday requesting it to restrain Andhra Pradesh from executing “unauthorised” Veligonda project and to consider only 20% of the water drawn for drinking needs as per the provisions of KWDT-I award in force.

In a letter addressed to Chairman of the KRMB M.P. Singh, Telangana Engineer-in-Chief (General-Irrigation) C. Muralidhar pointed out how the Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-I), which is in force till date due to the delay in the finalisation of Brijesh Kumar Tribunal (KWDT-II) following the dispute over the water share between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, had not considered any diversion of water from Srisailam reservoir and stipulated giving priority for in-basin allocations over outside basin diversions.

“Disregarding the provisions of KWDT-I, the erstwhile AP government proposed Veligonda project in 1994 to divert 3,000 cusecs of flood water during monsoon period to outside basin areas (Gundlakamma in Prakasam district) through a tunnel from Srisailam reservoir.

Additional tunnel

In 2005, an additional tunnel was proposed to carry another 8,600 cusecs of flood water or over one tmc ft a day from 875 feet level of the reservoir,” Mr. Muralidhar explained.

However, the Telangana government has been strongly objecting to diversion of water from Srisailam to outside basin areas through Pothireddypadu Head Regulator, Srisailam Right Main Canal, Handri-Neeva (Malyala), KC Canal (Muchumarri) and Veligonda lift schemes.

The matter was also raised at the second meeting of Apex Council held in October last, wherein Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was also of the view that inter-basin transfer of water could be done only after fulfilling the in-basin needs.

Telangana had been pleading before KWDT-II to stop outside basin diversions when the in-basin drought-prone areas were suffering water scarcity, the ENC said and mentioned that KWDT-I had stipulated that “Andhra Pradesh shall not acquire any right whatsoever to the remaining water in excess of the allocated and regenerated water and more weightage be given to in-basin use in future uses.”

In another letter, Mr. Muralidhar requested the River Board to account for only 20% of the water drawn for drinking needs as per the provisions of the KWDT-I award.

He also brought to the notice of the KRMB Chairman that an inter-State agreement of August 1973 between AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra had also decided to measure only 20% of water drawn for domestic supply needs.

Further, he pointed out, in support of Telangana’s request, that the June 2019 report of the Central Water Commission (CWC) has put the consumptive use of domestic water utilisation in the country as 15%.

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