A fresh round of water war appears to be brewing between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with the latter accusing the sibling state of water theft from Krishna river.
Krishna River Management Board (KRMB), which met on Friday, could take no decision on the complaint lodged by Telangana that Andhra Pradesh is illegal drawing water from Srisailam reservoir.
Telangana’s engineer-in-chief C. Muralidhar had written to KRMB member secretary Sameer Chatterjee to convene a meeting of the Board immediately to take appropriate measures for distribution of waters to meet the drinking water needs of Telangana.
Chatterjee informed Muralidhar that the issue would be taken up at the five-member committee meeting to be held in October second week.
Telangana had complained to the KRMB against the release of water from Srisailam reservoir to Pothireddypadu head regulator and Muchumarri lift irrigation project without approval by the Board.
Pothireddypadu Head Regulator is on Srisailam Right Main canal and water flows into the regulator through gravity. This happens after the water level in Srisailam rises above 854 ft.
Last week, around 5,000 cusecs (nearly half tmc ft) of Krishna water was released from Srisailam dam to Pothireddypadu head regulator that supplies water to Telugu Ganga, Madras Water Supply Scheme, Srisailam Right Branch canal and Galeru-Nagari scheme.
Andhra defended its action saying that it allowed water for drinking needs of the people in Rayalaseema and reminded the KRMB that it had already sent an indent for 17 tmcft water from both the reservoirs as people were crying for water.
Andhra government contended that the release of water for Rayalaseema from Srisailam through Pottireddipadu Regulator is not unauthorised
Andhra officials said a complaint to the board by Telangana was like the pot calling the kettle black
Telangana had been drawing water continuously from Jurala and it had always drawn excess water, say Andhra officials.
Analysts say KRMB has became a spectator to the fight between the two Telugu states as it lacks powers to control the joint projects.
KRMB member secretary Samir Chatterjee expressed helplessness in preventing “illegal utilisation” of Krishna waters by the either state. He admitted his limitations in making the two warring states to come to a reasonable understanding.
He said the board wrote a letter to the Union Ministry of Water Resources, requesting it to accord powers to the KRMB to take stringent action against the governments for violating the standard procedures in the utilisation of Krishna water.
On the request of the two governments, the Board allocated 16 tmcft of water to Andhra Pradesh and 6 tmcft of water to Telangana for drinking water needs for the next 45 days. The AP government was permitted to draw five tmcft of water each from Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi and Pothireddypadu and 6 tmcft from Nagarjuna Sagar right bank canal.
While the Telangana State would utilise four tmcft of water from Kalwakruthi to meet drinking water needs in Mahbubnagar and Nagarkunrool districts. One tmcft of water each would be drawn to meet drinking water needs of Hyderabad and fluoride-hit Nalgonda districts.
Both the states have been asked to ensure that this water is not utilized for irrigation purposes.
Both the states have agreed to maintain a minimum 854 ft level at Srisailam and 510 ft level at NSP.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on more than one occasion that his government’s policy was to live and let live. He called for dialogue to resolve the issue. Andhra Pradesh leaders too agree with him.
However, neither state heeds nor waits for the clearance from the KRMB for drawing water if there is any in the Krishna river and the engineers follow the directions of their respective governments and not the KRMB when it comes to releasing water.