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Paddy farmers upbeat as water bodies filled to brim

Paddy farmers upbeat as water bodies filled to brimSomasila Reservoir
Highlights

Majority of water bodies in the district have filled to the brim due to heavy inflows from upper catchment areas in Rayalaseema districts much before the rainy season starts in the region.

Nellore: Majority of water bodies in the district have filled to the brim due to heavy inflows from upper catchment areas in Rayalaseema districts much before the rainy season starts in the region. Normally, Nellore receives rains during the Northeast monsoon. The district receives rainfall during Southwest monsoon too to some extent.

But, this time, the district received huge inflows to Somasila Reservoir up to 74 tmcft till now and officials are expecting further inflows due to heavy rains in other parts of the State. Now, farmers are on cloud nine as they can cultivate paddy without any barriers encouraged by water reserves for the first time after 2015.

In fact, paddy is normally grown in around 5 lakh hectares in the district and it decreased for the last four years due to shortage of water. Paddy was cultivated in around 2.90 lakh hectares in 2015, 1.50 lakh hectares in 2016 and 1.08 lakh hectares in 2017. Subsequently, the majority of the farmers shifted to short-duration crops. There was no rainfall during 2016 which made the farmers keep away from the farming activity.

No significant rainfall since 2016 and farmers shifted to bengal gram crop in around 30,000 hectares and black gram in 5,000 hectares. The district administration also discouraged the farmers form cultivating paddy imposing restrictions on paddy as it consumes more water than other crops.

Officials stored 70 tmcft of water in 2015 and 73 tmcft during 2010. Earlier, the water body has seen the worst situation with 2.1 tmc feet of dead storage level due to scanty rains. Earlier, the officials warned the farmers not to cultivate paddy and other water-intensive crops due to shortage.

The officials planned this time to store water strategically by diverting waer to other water bodies as soon as inflows were received. Now, Kandaleru is having 45.36 tmcft of water against its capacity of 68 tmcft due to diversion of water from Somasila reservoir. They also released water to south and north canals, delta and other major water bodies as part of measures to store maximum water.

Currently, inflows are at 29,582 cusecs and outflow at 17,788 cusecs into the sea. Officials calculated that a total of 104 tmcft of inflows reached the reservoir during the first week of October.

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