State fails to draw its quota of water from Tungabhadra Dam

It is attributed to non-completion of canal modernisation works

Tungabhadra Dam at Hospet in Karnataka is the main source of irrigation water for Anantapur and parts of Kurnool district.

In the 2021 water year, the dam, after a gap of 30 years, had received 212 tmcft water.

It was the second highest quantum of water received after 1980 when the quantum received was 216 tmcft.

But, due to non-completion of the canal modernisation project, Andhra Pradesh could not draw its allocated quota.

Andhra Pradesh has an allocation of 32.5 tmcft through the Tungabhadra High-Level Main Canal (HLC); 24 tmcft through the Low-Level Canal that flows into Kurnool district, and another 10 tmcft through the HLC as Krishna water diversion quota for KC Canal, making it 66.5 tmcft in total.

Based on the actual utilisation till December 31, 2021, the 212 tmcft received was equal to the allocation made as per the KWDT Award 45 years ago.

“This is the highest abstraction in the history of the dam after 1980-81,” Irrigation Superintending Engineer Nayakanti Rajasekhar told The Hindu.

Anantapur district so far received only 23.9 tmcft through the HLC, and that included 4 tmcft from the KC Canal diversion quota.

The HLC can get water only till the water level at the Tungabhardra Dam is maintained at 695 feet, while the LLC can draw from a lower level till April-end, and so far 14.86 tmcft has been drawn and the irrigation officials are confident of utilising the remaining 10 tmcft too.

In 1980-81, an abstraction of 216.646 tmcft was achieved when the reservoir capacity was 117.695 tmcft, and against the present capacity of 100.855 tmcft.

The HLC delivery capacity in Karnataka is 4,000 cusecs, while from AP border in Anantapur district it is 2,200 cusecs. An indent of 1,800 cusecs is given to ensure there are no breaches in the age-old lifeline of the district even for drinking water.

Meanwhile, the LLC has a capacity of only 700 cusecs, and is supposed to serve 1.51 lakh acres in Kurnool district. But this year, it has been promised to cater to only 70,700 acres.

The ₹450-crore HLC modernisation works that had begun in 2008 were pre-closed in 2019 due to inordinate delays for various reasons, and a government order bars taking up further works for the next five years.

“We will, however, propose to take up the remaining modernisation works as a special case to meet the growing demand, though we are yet to prepare a DPR for that,” Mr. Rajasekhar said.

Rough estimates put the expenditure at ₹300 crore for the remaining works to be completed on the HLC and another ₹70 crore to upgrade the link canal from Mopidi to Penna Ahobilam Balancing Reservoir (PABR), which has a capacity to store 11 tmcft, but is currently storing only 5 tmcft.

To enhance the capacity, about 1400 acres of land needs to be acquired in the areas to be inundated under the PABR.

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