Water war between AP & Telangana widens; Andhra seeks Centre’s intervention
Much before the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh, several research scholars, leaders and the intelligentsia predicted that “water wars” will be a perennial problem between the two Telugu states, if bifurcated. Well, it has been 7 years since bifurcation but the Telugu States are still fighting for water-sharing.
A case in point here is about the Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam projects through which water-sharing happens between the Telugu States. In such a scenario, the Andhra Pradesh government has sought Centre’s immediate intervention to stop Telangana from illegally drawing water from river Krishna for power generation.
As a safety measure, Central Industrial Security Force personnel have been posted at all the common reservoirs (between AP and Telangana) on river Krishna for protection and also safeguarding the interests of the state.
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, in a letter to the Water Resources Minister and the Prime Minister, mentioned: “Your kind intervention is sought in this regard. I request that a direction be given to the state of Telangana to stop illegal drawing of water for power generation without orders from the KRMB.The unauthorised withdrawal should be accounted for as utilisation by Telangana against the agreed allocation of 299 tmc ft.”
He wanted the Centre to immediately notify the jurisdiction of Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) to safeguard the interests of AP. “Inspite of instructions from KRMB not to draw water for power generation, Telangana is unilaterally drawing water for power generation, violating the Standard Operating Protocol and agreements. Such actions of Telangana are not in the interest of good inter-state relations and adversely affecting the interests of the lower riparian state of Andhra Pradesh,” Mr Jagan noted.
Rayalaseema deprived of water further
Drawing water beyond limit will put the drinking water and irrigation needs of four Rayalaseema districts, SPS Nellore and Prakasam, besides the drinking water requirement of Chennai city, in serious trouble. That means, Telangana could deprive Rayalaseema of water further despite the droughts the region faces every year.
The AP government also enclosed the GO on Telangana’s over utilisation of water on June 28 for generating hydel power by drawing excess water (at 8.80 tmc ft of water per day) from Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar and KL Rao Sagar (Pulichintala) reservoirs. “This is in utter disregard to the orders issued by the KRMB (on June 17).These unauthorized drawals are causing a surplus at Prakasam Barrage (filled to the brim of 3.07 tmc ft) and discharge into the Bay of Bengal, resulting in wastage of precious water,” a government statement explained.
AP has enough water: Telangana counters
In response, The Telangana state government has filed a counter-complaint with the KRMB and Union jal shakti ministry claiming that the projects in AP under Penna basin have adequate water reserves which can meet drinking water needs of AP and it is not dependent on Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar projects for drinking water at present.
The Telangana state government also raised strong objections over the AP government repeatedly taking up the issue of drinking water problem in AP if Telangana government takes up hydel power generation in projects over Krishna.
The Telangana state government claimed that AP has projects which have storage capacity of 350 tmc ft in Pennar basin, of which there are 120 tmc ft of reserves at present which are more than sufficient to meet drinking water needs of that state. There are adequate reserves in Somasila, Kandaleru, Owk and Velugodu reservoirs in AP, it noted.
However, this issue of water-sharing is not something that will fade away quickly and shall be a poking problem every year between both the states.
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.