Andhra-Telangana faceoff: Water war to leave Hyderabad parched

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Nagarjuna Sagar dam
Hyderabad, Oct 29: Hyderabad, the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is likely to face the brunt of the warring states over water sharing. It is believed that the city may be left dry if the two states cannot resolve their stand over the release of water from Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar reservoirs.

Following this, drinking water supply to Greater Hyderabad from River Krishna from January 2015. Currently, Krishna water project of Phase I and Phase II meet the 60% of the drinking water requirement in the Greater Hyderabad, serving close to 92-lakh people. Water from the Nagarjunasagar reservoir is lifted by pumps Alimineti Madhava Reddy Project (AMRP) in Puttangadi and stored at the Akkampally balancing reservoir from where it reaches Hyderabad. However, there is a catch. Water can be pumped only when the level in Nagarjunasagar is maintained above 510 feet as the pumps are designed that way.

G Adiseshu, advisor, AP Genco said,"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."

This was never a problem when Andhra was one as the state placed high priority to the issue. When the water level dropped at the Nagarjunasagar, which normally happens in January every year, the state used to release water from Srisailam downstream so that the minimum level is maintained. However, things are different now.

Inside sources said,"When Andhra Pradesh was one, the state government gave top priority to the drinking water needs of the capital city. However, after the bifurcation, the priorities of the states are different. AP government might insist on the early release of water from Nagarjunasagar for the rabi season in the Krishna delta (comprising the four districts of Krishna, Guntur, West Godavari and Prakasam) where more than 10 lakh acres are under cultivation. The Telangana government too would bat for early release of water so that nearly 6.5 lakh acres in Nalgonda and Khammam districts get irrigated. Unlike in the past, the focus of the two governments would be release of water for the rabi season. In the process, the drinking water supply for Hyderabad could well be jeopardised."

Of the five sources of drinking water, the Krishna water Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects provide for the maximum volume of water, accounting for 5.5 tmc ft each. This means, as against the city's demands for 510 million gallons daily (MGD) of water, the Hyderabad Metro Water and Sewerage Board claims to supply about 345 mgd, which again comes down to 320 MGD after wastage and leakage due to water transmission.

The other sources of water from the Osmansagar (24 MGD), Himayatsagar (16 MGD), Singur (75 MGD) and Manjeera (45 MGD) remain available for just 190 days, unlike Krishna's 250 days supply. Under these circumstances, both the state governments will be pushing for water supply to serve the Rabi crops, rendering Hyderabad helpless in the face of water crisis.

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