Projects on Krishna basin


Krishna Basin 

The catchment area in Telangana is 51,628 square kms and catchment in Andhra is 23,741 square kms. But the water allocation for Telangana is 266.83 TMC feet of water, whereas the Andhra gets 500.15 TMC feet of water as show in percentages.

The bar chart below shows clearly the catchment area, cultivable land and irrigated area on Krishna Basin.

Region catchment cultivable land irrigated Area









Tungabadra:This project was first planned in 1948 near Hosepet as a joint venture of erstwhile Hyderabad State and Mysore State. Left canal of this project was planned to utilize about 100 TMC ft of water to irrigate lands in Raichur and Mahaboobnagar.

Rajolibunda Diversion Scheme: This project was started to irrigate 93,000 acres in then Raichoor district of the then Hyderabad State utilizing 17 TMC feet of water. It was started by the Hyderabad State and completed by 1956. Subsequent to the reorganization of states, 5900 acres ayacut fell within Karnataka State and remaining ayacut of 87000 acres fell within Andhra Pradesh State. The Chief Engineers of Karnataka and Andra Pradesh agreed for full supply discharge of 850 cusecs at head and 770 cusecs at the border point between Karnataka State and Andhra Pradesh State in 1959.

Krishna water dispute tribunal allotted 1.20 TMC feet of water out of 17 TMC feet of water to Karnataka State ayacut and the remaining 15.90 TMC feet of water to the ayacut in Andhra Pradesh State in 1980. It also gave directions that out of the 17.10 TMC feet of water allotted, 7 TMC feet of water would be in the shape of regulated discharge from Thungabhadra project in the lean months from January to May. Karnataka does not release even half the required flow to ryots of Gadwal and Alampoor taluqs of Andhra Pradesh State, despite a specific direction from the tribunal. The Andhra Pradesh did not show any interest to take up the issue with Karnataka.

The entire Mahaboobnagar district is drought affected, except for Mahaboobnagar taluq. The entire district lies in Krishna basin and it is at the head of the basin in the state. The present irrigation is confined to minor irrigation projects, a few medium projects and one existing major project namely Rajolibunda Diversion Scheme across the Tungabhadra river.

The Bachawath tribunal had allotted 17.1 TMC feet of water to Rajolibunda Diversion Scheme: 1.20 TMC feet of water to Karnataka and 15.9 TMC feet of water to Mahaboobnagar district. But in reality only 5 to 6 TMC of water is available for Mahaboobnagar district, though the availability of water from Tungabhadra is almost 15.90 TMC. Telangana region is deprived due to clandestine and unauthorized and illegal diversion of 6 to 7 TMC of water, with the tacit knowledge of the official.

Bheema Project: The Bheema project envisages the use of 20 TMC feet of Krishna waters for irrigating 2 lakh acres in the drought affected and upland areas of Makthal, Atmakur, Wanaparthy and Kollapur taluqs of Mahaboobnagar district.

Alternatively the water can be lifted form the Bheema River or Krishna River just below its confluence with the Bheema River and stored in the proposed balancing reservoir at Makthal to irrigate the areas.

Andhra Pradesh State committed in its note APPK 36 to take up a project across Krishna river five miles upstream of Gadwal meter gauge railway bridge with a gross storage of 33 TMC feet water and storage of 16 TMC feet water under stage I.  The irrigation would be flow irrigation of about 1.05 lakhs acres, and stage II could be a lift scheme to irrigate about 1.80 lakhs acres. The tribunal allotted 17.64 TMC feet of water to the project and work is taken up under stage I named Jurala Project in 1981. The water is yet to be made available to extensive areas of ayacut proposed.

Nagarjunsagar Project: Nagarjuna Sagar project was taken up as a joint project between the then Andhra State and the then Hyderabad State in 1954. On the basis of the agreement the project was to be jointly executed with left canal to serve 7.95 lakh acres in Nalgonda and Khammam districts with 161 TMC feet of water as its share. Around 2 lakhs acres of lands in Andhra State limits were also to be served from the left canal. This joint project report was protected under section 108 (2a) of S.R. Act.

With the reorganization of states and the merging of Telangana with Andhra, the Andhra State became sole authority to execute the project. The bed levels of left main canal were indiscriminately dropped. It was made to pass through existing minor and medium tanks by dropping the bed level of canal and picked up at a lower level. With the result the identified ayacut in Nalgonda and Khammam districts was reduced from 7.95 lakhs acres to 5.30 lakh acres including existing ayacut of around 50,000 acres under Paleru Project and other minor irrigation sources. On the other hand the ayacut in Andhra region under left canal was increased from the originally contemplated ayacut of 2.05 lakh acres to 3.78 lakh acres.

As a result of this manipulation in the ayacut of left canal, the ayacut in Telangana utilizes only 86 TMC feet of water including around 6 TMC feet of water for independent yield of Paleru project, Devulapally and other minor tanks. The Nagarjuna sagar supplies only 80 TMC feet of water to Telangana ayacut under left canal, against its entitlement of 161 TMC feet of water, under 1954 agreement.

This is a violation of 1954 agreement and violation of the rights of Telangana Protected under section 108(2) (a) of SR act. The left canal alignment is manipulated so badly that it is not possible to make available the balance water from left canal.

After power generation, water from Srisailam reservoir flows to Nagarjuna Sagar project. The balance water from left canal quota of Nagarjuna Sagar is 127 TMC feet of water. The 127 TMC feet of water has to be supplied from Srisailam reservoir through a tunnel to irrigate areas in Nalgonda and Khammam districts.

The project under the left bank canal utilizing 30 TMC feet of water under Bheema lift irrigation is still not implemented. In addition to the existing deprivations, the Government of Andhra Pradesh is seriously contemplating to bring Krishna waters to Hyderabad city, which will further deplete the water available for irrigation in Telangana region.

Srisailam Left Bank Canal: Left canal runs for a length of 178 kilometers to irrigate 419,820 acres in Nalgonda, Khammam, Krishna and west Godavari.

Srisailam Left Bank Canal is the third project of Telangana on Krishna that became a victim of Andhra Pradesh government maneuvering.

Krishna water dispute tribunal allocated 800 TMC feet of water to Andhra Pradesh State. The three state governments, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharastra, put forward further demands against possible surplus flows over and above agreed. The Tribunal allowed Andhra Pradesh to buildup surplus capacities to store water and utilize it with out any specific right over the other states of Karnataka and Maharastra. The government of Andhra Pradesh submitted plans to utilize the surplus water of Krishna as under.

I.Krishna delta                                             65.00  TMC

2. Nagarjuna sagar                                       42.00  TMC

3. Jurala Irrigation Scheme Stage II                 28.00  TMC

4. Sangameswar canals                                40.90  TMC

5. Srisailam Left Bank canal                          150.00  TMC

6. Nagarjuna Sagar Project Stage II               203.00  TMC

              Total ..                                           529.10 TMC

An expert committee of Senior Engineers was constituted by Andhra Pradesh State in 1981 to suggest ways and means for maximum utilization of water allocated by Krishna water Disputes Tribunal.

Crest gates were installed in both Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam and water is being utilized. By installing crest gates to R.L. +590 and with M.D.D.L. at +510 at Nagarjuna Sagar an additional carry over capacity of 120 TMC feet of water is created. Similarly at Srisailam with crest gates at R.L. 885 and MDDL at +830 an additional carry over capacity of 60 TMC feet of water is created. The Experts committee was of the opinion, that the average carry over capacity at Srisailam is 81.6 TMC feet of water and at Nagarjuna Sagar is 167.78 TMC feet of water. With power generation permitted up to +800, another 100 TMC feet of water would be available totaling to about 81.63+67.78+100=349.11 TMC feet of water.

Based on the above estimation of water availability the Government took up Telugu Ganga and Srisailam right branch canal to irrigate extensive areas in Cuddapah, Kurnool, Prakasam, Nellore and Chittoor districts utilizing around 350 TMC feet of water, incurring around Rs. 3200 crores in the last the 18 years.

Srisailam left bank canal was to be supplied water through a tunnel from Srisailam reservoir, as suggested by experts committee and agreed to by A.P. government. A committee was setup to study environmental impact to damn the tunnel. The committee came out with a recommendation that environmental impact could be avoided with a slight shift in alignment and it would avoid forest area as well. The report also suggested that the tunnel is the best option.

The planning commission cleared the Srisailam right branch canal, part of Sangameswara canals to utilize 19 TMC of surplus flows in May 1981. The State government also cleared other projects.

1. Srisailam left branch canal (Telugu Ganga ) with extension up to Sagileru river to irrigate 1.11 lakh hectares requiring 29 TMC feet of water.

2. Srisailam Left Bank Canal (SLBC) in Nalgonda district to irrigate around 1.20 lakh hectares utilizing 30 TMC feet of water.

The cost aspect as indicated in plan papers in 1984, is more favorable to Srisailam left bank canal.  The tunnel’s estimated cost was Rs. 353 Crores utilizing 30 TMC feet of water. It was much cheaper than Srisailam left branch canal (Telugu Ganga) costing Rs. 637 crores for utilizing 29 TMCft and Srisailam right branch canal costing Rs. 221 crores utilizing only 19 TMC feet of water.

The Andhra Pradesh government appears to have a hidden agenda and it is understood that it has a preconceived notion to block tunnel option, in spite of its overwhelming positive features. Otherwise how else would it discourage tunnel option on left bank of Srisailam, while it aggressively pursuing it on right side of Srisailam to feed ayacut of Valigodu reservoirs.

Finally the government decided to dump tunnel option in 1995 and instead supply water to the ayacut on Srisailam Left Bank by pumping from Nagarjuna Sagar. The government proposed to install 4 pumps of 19 MW each to irrigate 60,000 hectares in first crop and another 49,000 hectares in second crop. The actual irrigation as per the affidavit submitted, with the pumps running 24 hours does not exceed 97,000 hectares. But actually its capacity would not be more than 67,758 hectares, utilizing around 28.74 TMC feet of water against allotment 50TMC feet of water. The ayacut restricted to 67,758 hectares against earlier recommendation of 1,21,000 hectares.

Two issues:

1. Is it possible to supply 76MW of firm power during October, November and December? The statements emanating from both the corporation and government indicate that the supply of power for more than (9) hours a day is not possible. In that event the ayacut gets further reduced to around 25,000 hectares. The intended flushing out of fluoride from the areas and water supply to villages along the canal including Nalgonda town would remain a dream unfulfilled.

2. The running cost of the scheme works out to around Rs. 3230- per hectare at Rs.1 per unit of electricity. If the tariff is linked to cost of production of electricity the cost per hectare may be around Rs.8000. Will the farmers be able to pay such huge costs of power supply?. Why should they pay for such faulty and mischievous formulation of the scheme? The water intended for Nalgonda would flow down stream for development of some more ayacut in the Andhra region and Nalgonda district would remain drought prone perpetually.

The dishonesty of the government is further evident from the fact that Telugu Ganga and Srisailam right branch canal simultaneously started with Srisailam Left Bank Canal, are under execution, while Srisailam Left Bank Canal remains a dream. The expenditure on Telugu Ganga and Srisailam right branch canal is Rs. 1500 crores whereas Srisailam left bank canal estimated to cost around Rs. 150 crores.

Dishonesty is evident from the fact, that the pumping scheme is opted by the state, in spite of unequivocal recommendation by the experts committee and later by the environmental impact Assessment committee favoring tunnel. Obviously, the government knows fully well that the pumping scheme is not viable and opted for it, so as to dump it later and divert water so saved from this scheme to lower reaches to benefit Andhra region.

As a result of discrimination since merger of Telangana with the erstwhile Andhra State in 1956 is back to 7.21 lakh hectares in 1996 -97, compared to 9 lakhs hectares under irrigation in 1956. The irrigation content as percentage of shown area also, slumped from 18.90% in 1956 to 17.60% in 1996 - 97. This was not the sort of balanced development of all the regions of the state contemplated in article 371 (D) - 1 of the constitution. It shows how government ignored the needs of a particular region. It is in violation of all accepted norms of governance, conventions, and agreements between different regions of a state under the constitutional provisions.

While considering the Rajolibunda Diversion Scheme Right Bank Canal for the utilization of flood flows, it may be necessary first to ensure adequate designed discharge into the Left Bank Canal by raising the crest level of the ayacut to irrigate the full contemplated ayacut of 87,000 acres.

Nandikonda - Nagarjunasagar Project

Contemplated                              Andhra region                  Telangana region

Originally to irrigate                      2.33 lakh acres                     7.9 lakh acres

                                               (under right canal)                (through left canal)

                                                                                     Reduced to 6.1 lakh acres

Now under Irrigation                     13.00 lakh acres              Under irrigation 1.1 lakh acres.


Bureaucratic institutions created hurdles to delay the approvals at various levels at different stages. While negotiating irrigation projects in backward areas / region, the state delayed the sanction of allocated budget till last minute so that the funds could be diverted to favored regions. Also the trend in favor of coastal Andhra is evident in spending extra budgetary funds, early completion of projects, modernization of projects, regular and repeated drainage and flood control works, constructing balancing reservoirs, doubly ensured that irrigation projects are completed early in Andhra area.

Gadwal Branch Canal: Thungabhadra low level canal was to irrigate 80,000 hectares in Gadwal and AlampurTaluqs of Raichur district in Hyderabad state. Due to reorganization of states in 1956, the two taluqs Gadwal and Alampoor became part of Mahaboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. The Chief Engineer of Thungabhadra wrote to the Chief Engineer Andhra in September 1956, stating that for the cropping pattern for the scheme approved by the Hyderabad State for 580,000 acres including 10,000acres of second crop paddy.  The total quantity of utilizable water was estimated to be about 80 TMC feet of water out of 100 TMC of water allotted to Hyderabad in 1951. He added that it had been further decided that the balance quantity of water should be utilized in the lower reaches lying in the Telangana region.

The Karnataka State misguided the Krishna water disputes tribunal stating that there was no administrative sanction from Gadwal branch canal beyond Mile 141 and the Andhra Pradesh State accepted the result.  The tribunal ruled that the claim for water to Gadwal beyond 141 miles is not sustainable. The tribunal or the state of Andhra Pradesh did not ask Karnataka State whether there was administrative sanction separately for the branch canal from Mile 127 of main canal to KM 141.00 of Gadwal branch canal.

Mahaboobnagar district also lost substantially in two other projects, around 25 TMC ft in upper Krishna, 50 TMC ft in Bheema project plans, which were in advanced stage of formulation, before reorganization of states took its toll. The result was that Mahaboobnagar district remained drought prone and poorest district in Andhra Pradesh state, with percentage of irrigation recording as low as 4.61% of its shown area in 1996 -97, in spite of the fact that three big rivers Krishna Thungabadra and Bheema flowing through it.

Concerned with the plight of the Mahaboobnagar district, the Krishna water dispute tribunal allotted 17.84 TMC feet of water for Jurala project stage I to irrigate around 42,000 hectares bordering Krishna river in Mahaboobnagar district.

Jurala Project Stage–1: This project envisages irrigating scarcity areas in Taluqs of Gadwal, Alampur and Wanaparthy in Mahboobnagar district. The erstwhile Hyderabad State had taken up investigations of 1930 for irrigating certain areas in Telangana region of the present Mahboobnagar District along with areas in Karnataka region, which merged with the Karnataka state after the states reorganization.

 In the 1st Stage there will be two canals :

 (1) The Right Bank canal will be about 17 miles along serving the areas of Gadwal and Alampur Taluqs in Mahaboobnagar district.

 (2) The left Bank Canal which will be about 36 miles serving Taluqs of Atmakur and Wanaparthy of Mahaboobnagar District. The total water requirement in Stage-l for the Right and Left Bank Canals is 16.80 TMC feet of water.

In second stage a pumping scheme to irrigate around 80,000 hectares is not implemented in spite of its commitment before the Krishna water dispute tribunal 30 years back in 1970. The government is not in a position to supply power to agricultural connections even 9 hours a day. Therefore there is no justification for pumping scheme specially in view of the fact, that an attractive alternative diversion scheme from adjacent Bheema river, where required flows are available. It would be much cheaper in construction and operation than the pumping scheme.

Kalwakurthi Lift Irrigation Scheme: This scheme was planned to lift the water at Khollapur on upper Sreesailam project in 8 stages in Nagar Kurnool. Kalwakurthi foundation stone was laid in 1990 and it has not seen any progress since. The government proposed to revise the project to lift water in three stages. The government was not interested to implement it and postponing the project on some pretext or the other.  The local leadership formed a group called: Kalwakurthi Jalasadha Samithi. They approached the NRI / NGO'S who had offered to finance 1800 crores for this projects. But the government has expressed its inability to accept the assistance on the ground that there is no sufficient water to lift from Krishna.

Pulichinthala Project: The implementation of this project will cause damage and adversely affect the farmers of Telangana. The Government is stating that it will supply additional water to left bank Sreesailam project and Bheema. Under this project about 45.75 TMC feet of water can be stored, which will irrigate only 2.7 lakh acres in Telangana where as it irrigates 14.00 lakhs acres in Krishna district. It is clear to see that this project will mostly benefit the Krishna delta.

The Government stated that by implementing this project only about 15,000 people would be affected in Nalgonda. But it is estimated that the project would submerge large areas in many parts of Nalgonda district. There are many questions lingering in the minds of Telangana people as to why the govt. is so keen to implement this project on priority basis when other projects in Telangana are not being implemented with the same vigor.

The High Court has issued notices in a writ challenging the action of the government proceeding with pulichintala project, without obtaining the clearance of the Union Ministry of Environment. It obviously indicates the haste by the Government in power to benefit the farmers in the upland areas in Guntur and Prakasham Dist.

The biggest injustice ever was done in the field of development and exploitation of water resources, and utilization of water resources for irrigation and drinking purposes from 3 rivers, Krishna, Godavari and Tungabhadra flowing from Telangana.

The biggest Nagarjunasagar Dam is constructed in Nalgonda district, which actually became a major source of irrigation in Krishna district. The Srisailam bank left canal to provide water for parched canals in Telanagana districts is still under implementation, whereas the right canal which feeds land in Kurnool and Cuddapah and Anantapur Dist is already completed and the downstream water from Srisailam Dam benefits Krishna District.

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