The Sriram Sagar Project (SRSP), North Telangana’s major irrigation project is witnessing a shortage of water, despite heavy rains in the last week across Telangana, including its upper catchment areas recording rainfall of 2 – 2.5 cm.
In the North Telangana ‘Varapradayini’ also known as the lifeline of North Telangana, water levels are at 9.28 tmc, which is less than 10% of its actual capacity of 90 tmc at 1094 feet height.
The project serves the irrigation needs of undivided Nizamabad, Adilabad and Karimnagar, Warangal district and the district farmers by catering to an area of more than 16 lakhs acres.
Speaking to TNM on Wednesday, SRSP, Superintending Engineer of Warangal circle, N Sudhakar Reddy said that last year the project had seen full capacity with heavy rains in the upper catchment area of the Babli Project over river Godavari.
With the water level still remaining low by the third week of July, the farmers of North Telangana are beginning to be concerned. If the water level continues to remain low it might also affect the availability of drinking water in the area.
While officials are still hopeful about receiving adequate rainfall, the situation currently is reminiscent of 2014 and 2015 which left the reservoir almost empty.
According to officials, the recent rains in Nizamabad and Adilabad brought an inflow of 600 cusecs of water into the SRSP but the maximum inflow to SRSP this year has not exceeded 2500 cusecs. Every year SRSP also provides 4-5 tmc water for drinking and other domestic purposes.
Reddy said, “In the first week of July only they have released the water from the Babli but there are several mini dams under it, including Gaddenavagu of Adilabad district, which may take more than 3-4 tmc of water. Once these reservoirs get filled up we can expect massive flow into the SRSP.”
“We have received messages from the Maharashtra irrigation officials that weather forecast of Maharashtra indicates better rains, so we don’t need to worry much, as rains in the state are also picking up momentum,” Reddy said.
He said that in the last Kharif season they had managed to provide water to an area of more than 16 lakhs acres and in the Rabi season to an area of 3.40 acres. “We hope this year the same will be replicated,” he added.
However, this Kharif season seems to be a tenuous one for the farmers.
Sagar Damera, whose three acres at Chintagattu of Warangal district, were irrigated by the waters of Kakatiya canal of SRSP said, “The present rains might be enough for the first wet phase, but we may not receive the same rains throughout the season. Having water in canals can help us face any last phase crisis.”
“If not SRSP, Mid Manair waters may also help but only if the government plans to release them for irrigation along with urban domestic and industrial needs,” Sagar said.
Meanwhile, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has instructed officials to keep all four canals of SRSP ready for supplying water to an area of 16 lakh acres.