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Water crisis stares at Telangana, AP

Water crisis stares at Telangana, AP
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Water scarcity, chiefly drinking water, is staring at the two Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as water levels in the reservoirs in Krishna and Godavari basins going down steeply.

Hyderabad: Water scarcity, chiefly drinking water, is staring at the two Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as water levels in the reservoirs in Krishna and Godavari basins going down steeply.

Water levels at Srisailam under Krishna has reached below minimum draw down level (MDDL) of 815 feet. On Thursday, it was reported that water levels have gone down to 800 feet in Srisailam having only 29 tmcft of water in the reserve. The full reservoir level (FRL) of the project is 885 feet with a total capacity of 215 tmcft.

Water level in Nagarjunasagar reservoir has come down to 513 feet as against FRL of 590 feet. The available water in the project is only 136 tmcft out of 312 tmcft gross capacity. The MDDL of the Nagarjunasagar project is 500 feet.

Water storage in Jurala and Tungabhadra under Krishna basin has come down to 3.41 tmcft of 9.66 tmcft total capacity and 3.98 tmcft out of 100 tmcft capacity of the projects respectively.

Officials said that the availability of water in Srisailam and Sagar will cater to drinking water needs mainly for Hyderabad and Nalgonda in Telangana and Krishna and Guntur districts in AP for a few days only.

As water levels in Srisailam have gone down below MDDL, the possibility of drawing water is ruled out from the project. The only option before the two states is to meet drinking water needs from the storage available in Nagarjunasagar. Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) has recently instructed the two states to maintain MDDL at 500 feet in Nagarjunasagar reservoir.

Water levels have already gone down to 513 feet. A total of 650 mgd (million gallons per day) is required to meet the drinking water requirement in Hyderabad alone. Nearly, 10 tmcft of water is needed every day to quench the thirst of Telugu people of the two states. With the water levels hitting the rock bottom in Krishna basin, the two governments could meet less than 50 per cent of the water requirement in the ensuing peak summer in May this year.

Water availability in Godavari basin is also on a downward slide. Water storage in the reservoirs fell to 208 tmcft of the installed gross capacity of 779 tmcft (including Jaikwadi) in Godavari basin. Water storage in Singur reservoir, which also meet drinking water needs in Hyderabad, has come down to 8.37 tmcft of the total capacity of 30 tmcft. Nizamsagar, Sriramsagar, Lower Manair, Kadem and Sripada Yellampalli reservoirs under Godavari basin are also drying up fast with the depletion of water reserves.

Water availability in these reservoirs are only 20 per cent of the total capacity. As a result, drinking water crisis is looming large in North Telangana districts of Nizamabad, Warangal and Karimnagar in Telangana and Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh next month.

Officials said that KRMB is monitoring water levels in Krishna reservoirs closely. Based on the availability of water, the board will finalise water allocation to the two states for drinking needs in May first week. The issue of withdrawal of more water by Andhra Pradesh in March and April as raised by Telangana state will also be discussed in the next meeting, the officials said.

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