Accusing Andhra Pradesh of over utilising waters by 44 TMC ft, the Telangana government closed the gates of the Nagarjunasagar Dam's Right Branch Canal on Wednesday evening. The development may further escalate tensions between the two states as AP claims that it still needs 30 TMC ft of water to save the standing crops under the Nagarjunasagar Right Branch Canal in Guntur and Prakasam districts.
The controversy surrounding release of Krishna waters from Nagarjunasagar Dam between Telangana and AP had become more complicated when the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) decided not to interfere in the matter and only advised the two governments to resolve the dispute among themselves. The central government too decided not to intervene in the issue, though both governments had sought intervention, and only referring the issue to the KRMB.
Both the states have been asking for more water to save the crops and also for fresh releases from Nagarjunasagar Dam for raising the Rabi crop. Taking into consideration the water situation of the state, on Wednesday, Telangana irrigation minister T. Harish Rao held a review meeting with irrigation officials and ordered the immediate closure of the right-side pen stock of the Nagarjunasagar Dam that supplies waters to the Right Branch Canal through a 90 MW powerhouse.
The Telangana government took this step following a letter from KRMB secretary R.K. Gupta addressed to the engineering-in-chief of AP, marking copies to the TS engineering-in-chief. The letter mentioned: “Two states are to discuss realistic water requirements and arrive at a water sharing agreement out of the available water. They should also account for usage so far by each state."
Telangana irrigation adviser R. Vidyasagara Rao, who participated in the meeting held by Mr Harish Rao, said, “This is the first time the Board has asked both governments to decide everything and refused to decide apportionment of waters among the two states. We have been asking AP officials for negotiations and to furnish their requirements, which they have been refusing. We also asked them about utilisation of water already released to them, but they are silent on this. According to us, they have used 370 TMC ft against their allocation of 322 TMC ft."
Chief engineer of Nagarjunasagar Dam Purushottam Raju said, “We were instructed to stop further releases to the Right Branch Canal. The dam level reached 532.8 ft today. At this level, water cannot be released to the right-side powerhouse (pen stock). Due to excess water already drawn by AP, we have decided to close the gates."
AP's principal secretary for irrigation B. Adityanath Das said, “ We were not officially communicated about stoppage of supplies. We will request Telangana to positively consider further releases to AP to save standing crops."
We were not officially communicated about stoppage of supplies. We will request TS to positively consider further releases to AP to save standing crops. we will discuss with Telangana officials tomorrow."