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Reservoirs drying up in drought-hit Nellore

Reservoirs drying up  in drought-hit Nellore
Highlights

Somasila and Kandaleru reservoirs drying up Lakes go dry in the upland areas of Gandipalem, Nakkalagandi People in Kavali, Udayagiri,...

  • Somasila and Kandaleru reservoirs drying up
  • Lakes go dry in the upland areas of Gandipalem, Nakkalagandi
  • People in Kavali, Udayagiri, Venkatagiri, Sullurpet and Gudur constituencies suffering
  • North-East monsoon failed in 2012
As against the normal rainfall of 661 MM every year, only 496.3 MM was recorded this year, which is 25 % less than the usual amount of rainfall. For the first time since nine years, a crop holiday had to be announced due to the non-availability of water for the second crop.
V Narasimhulu Nellore: The district is facing a severe drought with the depletion of ground water resources, a fall in the water table and scarcity or rainfall. There is no sign of greenery on the agricultural lands that look deserted. The water levels in the reservoirs have fallen sharply. Water is at the bare minimum level in the Somasila reservoir. Moreover, the Kandaleru reservoir, which used to supply water to Tirumala and Tirupati towns and also to Chennai in the neighbouring State, is also drying up gradually. Furthermore, the lakes in the upland areas of Gandipalem, Nakkalagandi, big and small dams in Tallapadu were drying up. The conditions of the regions lying near the ayacut were completely pathetic. There is not even a single drop of water in the upland areas. With the depletion of water resources in the forest areas, the wildlife habitat was also getting disturbed. The conditions of the wild animals have become pathetic with the non-availability of water. There is a danger of the greenery becoming extinct in the upland areas as water levels were falling alarmingly. People living in Kavali, Udayagiri, Venkatagiri, Sullurpet and Gudur constituencies were finding it difficult to fetch a pail of water to quench their thirst. Nature has been very cruel and unkind to the regions surrounding the Somasila reservoir with monsoon failing this year leaving the people in the lurch. Both the South-west monsoon and North-east monsoon did not show up. Although the Somasila requires a dead storage level of 331.3 mm, during the year 2010-11, 521 MM, in 2011-12, 310 MM and in 2012-13, 262 MM of rainfall was recorded. Even the north-east monsoon also failed to turn up in 2012, leaving the farmers in the lurch. As against the normal rainfall of 661 MM every year, only 496.3 MM was recorded in 2012, which is 25 % less than the usual amount of rainfall. For the first time since nine years, a crop holiday had to be announced due to the non-availability of water for the second crop. At present, the minimum water level in the Somasila project has fallen to 9.154 TMC and moreover, 3 TMC of water for irrigation purposes had to be taken from the dead storage levels. Also, doubts have been expressed over the usability of water in the 40-year-old Somasila reservoir as large amounts of silt has been deposited upto one-fourth level in the reservoir. This has also raised another doubt over the official claim that there was 9.1 TMC of water available and the irrigation experts have opined that the official records were wrong. At the meeting of the Irrigation Advisory Board (IAB) here on Tuesday, State Finance Minister A Ramanarayan Reddy expressed doubts over the official version of water level in the Somalisa project and opined that it might be much less and not more than 5.5 TMC of water. Water has to be distributed on the basis of this availability as the irrigation officials expressed their helplessness. With the non-availability of sufficient quantities of water for the second crop, cultivation of the crop has been affected in 2 lakh acres of land, which could have yielded 6800 lakh kg of paddy worth Rs 190 crore. With the result, even the government has lost anywhere between Rs 40 to 60 crore heavily in the form of taxes. With the acute scarcity of rainfall, fodder for cattle has also been affected. The officials have given up hope and unless and until the rain god shows some mercy, there is no respite for the farmers and no inflows of water to the reservoir.
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