Telangana has written a letter to the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) pleading with it to “immediately restrain” the lower riparian State of Andhra Pradesh from proceeding with either expanding or taking up any new irrigation schemes in the Krishna basin. The letter said any such move taken up after June 2014 would be a violation and attract the provisions of Section 85(8) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act (APRA), 2014.
Telangana has repeatedly taken objection to and brought to the notice of the KRMB Andhra Pradesh’s issuance of government orders and administrative approvals for taking up several new schemes and projects after the bifurcation of the Telugu States.
Jiledubanda reservoir – A bone of contention
The latest project to attract Telangana’s ire is the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to issue a government order inviting tenders for the construction of the Jiledubanda reservoir in the State’s Dharmavaram constituency (Anantapur district). With an administrative approval of Rs.680 crore, the 2.41 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) capacity Jiledubanda reservoir is designed to utilise waters from the Srisailam reservoir and irrigate 23,000 acres of land.
Red-flagging the plans for the Jiledubanda reservoir, a letter written by C. Muralidhar, Telangana Irrigation and Command Area Development Engineer-in-Chief (General), explained that Andhra Pradesh, as per approvals from both the Central Water Commission and the Ministry of Water Resources, could divert only 34 tmc ft of water from the Srisailam reservoir during flood flows.
But, during the current water year, Andhra Pradesh had already diverted 82 tmc ft of water from Pothiredddypadu head regulator and 11.2 tmc ft from Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi (HNSS) lift irrigation, totaling 93.29 tmc ft of water. Any diversion of water by Andhra Pradesh from Srisailam reservoir, according to Muralidhar, needed to be immediately stopped by the KRMB.
Telangana claims that these “fresh” diversions of water by Andhra Pradesh will affect the needs of Telangana in the Krishna basin areas “from Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar”, with the new irrigation schemes of Andhra Pradesh “further worsening the situation”.
How this additional twist is going to interrupt water-sharing between the two Telugu states is something only time will tell.