Telangana’s new gimmick to AP: Let’s share Krishna water in equal halves

The Telangana government said the State wants to share Krishna water with Andhra Pradesh in the ratio of 50:50 from the 2021-22 water year till the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal-II gives its decision, since the State was in distress due to insufficient water even after seven years of its formation.

C. Muralidhar Rao, Engineer-in-Chief (General), Irrigation and Command Area Development, in a letter to the chairman of Krishna River Management Board, brought to his notice various concerns of the Telangana government. He pointed out that the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal-I (KWDT-I) considered Srisailam as a hydroelectric project and held that the minimum annual release from the project would be to meet the requirements of Nagarjuna Sagar Project and Krishna delta canals.

In view of meeting the requirements of Krishna delta from the water diverted from Godavari River, the flows required from Srisailam reservoir to meet the requirement of NSP was 265 TMC after excluding self-generation of 15 TMC between Srisailam and NSP from out of total requirement of 280 TMC.

It is pertinent to mention that the KWDT-I made an en bloc allocation of 811 TMC out of 75 per cent dependable flows to erstwhile AP apart from liberty to use remaining water. Unequivocally, a five judge bench of the Supreme Court clarified that the allocations made by KWDT-I were en bloc and not project-specific allocations.

The KWDT-II is making project-wise specific allocation to AP and Telangana as per Section 89 of APRA-2014. In view of the same, an adhoc arrangement in June 2016 was made to use Krishna water in 512:299 for one year only without any prejudice to claims of States before any fora.

However, the AP government does not share the same view on water allocation. The bone of contention between both the states is the Srisailam project. The water of the Srisailam reservoir — which is the main storage for river water between the two states — is the key to finding a solution for this dispute. 

Considering this, AP is protesting against Telangana’s use of the Srisailam reservoir water from 1 June for power generation. The state complained that Telangana has been generating power below 834 feet, which is the Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) for producing electricity. Additionally, Telangana had not taken the approval of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) before going ahead with its plans. 

The Government of AP is angry that Telangana’s hydel project is allegedly not allowing water levels to rise in the Srisailam reservoir. For Andhra Pradesh to give water to the Rayalaseema region — the drought-hit region — the water level here needs to be around 881 feet. 

The State of AP even went ahead and mentioned to the Centre that: “Because of this adamant attitude of Telangana, water level reaching even 854 feet seems to be a herculean task and this level is essential for drawing at least 6,000 cusecs of water… this will cause severe distress to the chronically drought-hit districts of Rayalaseema… SPSR, Nellore, Prakasam and also Chennai city…” 

Andhra also believes water used for hydel projects is ultimately wasted as it flows into the Bay of Bengal. Instead, it wanted to use this water for the Rayalaseema region to fulfil its water needs and save the region from worse droughts. However, this nonchalance from the Telangana government has become a stick in a leaking dam. 

Whether AP will agree to Telangana’s current proposal of sharing water is yet to be seen as bifurcation mandated that the water sharing be around 66:34 (AP:TS) ratio for the Telugu states. 

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Tejaswini Pagadala

Communications Consultant: TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.
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