Dwindling water level in Srisailam dam causes anxiety among farmers

Dwindling water level in Srisailam dam causes anxiety among farmers
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Highlights

Storage level of the dam has fallen from 308 tmc of water to 216 tmc mainly because of flow of muddy flood water, increasing the silt level

*Storage level of the dam has fallen from 308 tmc of water to 216 tmc mainly because of flow of muddy flood water, increasing the silt level
*Removal of silt is a costly proposition

Srisailam: The fall in storage capacity of the Krishna River water in the Srisailam dam from 308 tmc to 216 tmc due to flow of muddy flood water, thus increasing the level of silt, is causing severe anxiety among farmers in both the upstream and downstream areas. Water of Krishna, which passes through four States criss-crossing 1,400 km and fills the reservoir.

The dam’s storage level has fallen because of formation of silt. An estimate of the fall in the capacity by the Andhra Pradesh Engineers India Limited in 1995-96 put it as 263.63 tmc of water, a loss of 45 tmc.

The Andhra Pradesh Engineering Research Laboratory in its report in 2009 stated that the level fell further to 215.807 tmc of water, an additional loss of 48 tmc.

Officials, who studied the silt problem, based on the 1997 silt level at 0.82 per cent, concluded that accumulation of 0.5 per cent silt every year will be dangerous for the dam. After a study conducted in 2011, officials submitted a report to the government.

Only people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, among the four States, have been losers because of the fall in the dam’s storage capacity. Officials in the two States have been forced to release dam water downstream because of more inflows of flood water. This has often led to protests, demonstrations and dharnas by both the people and farmers, leading to near-water wars, because of shortage of water both for irrigation and drinking.

An expert opined that removal of silt from the dam is a costly affair--one tmc of water costs nearly Rs 500 crore. If 100 tmc is to be removed, he estimated that many dams could be constructed with the amount.

Hence, he said that there is a need for evolving modern scientific methods to solve the silt problem and also to prevent its accumulation. If they are not evolved soon and the dam’s storage level is not increased, there is a danger of the structure facing a grave threat to its very existence.

by S Syam Sundar Rao

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