Telangana-Andhra Pradesh water conflict may leave city thirsty

Hyderabad is likely to face the major problem in sharing the water between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana that is rising by the day. Officials on both sides catch the supply of drinking water to Hyderabad from the river Krishna from 2015 could become doubtful if the two states don’t budge from their stand over the release of water from Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar reservoirs.
Presently, Krishna water project (phase I & II) meets 60 per cent of the drinking water needs of the 92-lakh population of Greater Hyderabad. Water from Nagarjunsagar reservoir is lifted by pumps at Alimineti Madhava Reddy Project (AMRP) in Puttangadi and stored at the Akkampally balancing reservoir from where it reaches Hyderabad.
However, for the water to be pumped from Nagarjunasagar, the water level at the dam should be maintained above 510 feet. “The pumps at AMRP are designed in such a way that they can lift water from Nagarjunasagar only when the water is above 510 feet. Therefore, maintaining that level at the dam is necessary for the Krishna drinking water to reach Hyderabad,” as informed by G Adiseshu, advisor, AP Genco .
Normally, the water level at Nagarjunasagar drops below 510 feet by January and in the past, the state government would release water from Srisailam downstream so that the minimum level at Nagarjunsagar was maintained and this in turn would ensure supplies for Hyderabad.

“When Andhra Pradesh was one, the state government gave top priority to the drinking water needs of the capital city. However, after the division, the priorities of the states are different. AP government might insist on the early release of water from Nagarjunasagar for the rabi season in the Krishna delta (comprising the four districts of Krishna, Guntur, West Godavari and Prakasam) where more than 10 lakh acres are under cultivation.

The Telangana government too would bat for early release of water so that nearly 6.5 lakh acres in Nalgonda and Khammam districts get irrigated. Unlike in the past, the focus of the two governments would be release of water for the rabi season. In the process, the drinking water supply for Hyderabad could well be jeopardised .

Of the five sources of drinking water for Hyderabad city and its surrounding municipalities, Krishna river water from Nagarjunasagar accounts for more than 60 per cent. Of this, Krishna phase-1 provides about 5.5 tmc ft and phase-2 another 5.5 tmc ft. As against the demand of 510 million gallons daily (MGD) of water, the Hyderabad Metro Water and Sewerage Board claims to supply about 345 mgd but in reality, less than 320 mgd is being supplied after taking leakage and transmission losses into account.
With a scarcity of about 190 mgd, the problem will remain for long till the phase-III of Krishna drinking waterproject to supply another 5.5 tmc ft is completed. The other sources are Osmansagar (24 MGD), Himayatsagar (16 MGD), Singur (75 MGD) and Manjeera (45 MGD). “But the water availability at Osmansagar, Himayatsagar, Singur and Manjeera reservoirs is limited to 190 days in a year whereas Krishna water ensures over 250 days of supplies to the city,” pointed out sources in the irrigation department.

Under these circumstances, with providing water for the rabi season being the focus of the two governments, Hyderabad could face drinking water crisis as the new year dawns, warned experts.

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