ONGOLE: As almost all major water projects in the State, including the Nagarjuna Sagar and the Srisailam, were overflowing, farmers from the district demanded that water from Nagarjuna Sagar Project’s (NSP’s) right canal, which catered to the irrigation needs of Prakasam and Guntur, be released for their croplands. Since the second week of August, the authorities were focused on filling all summer storage tanks of the district. So far, 40 to 45 per cent of the task was completed.
Many farmers submitted petitions regarding the supply of water for their paddy and dry crops to the collector during the weekly public grievance ‘Spandana’ programme held last Monday. MLAs Bala Veeranjaneya Swamy and Karanam Balaram also demanded the release of irrigation water to help the district farmers.
“As there has been abundant rains in the catchment areas of Krishna and Godavari rivers, almost all water projects of the State, including the NSP and Srisailam Dam, are overflowing and a huge amount of water is going waste,” MLA Karanam Balaram told TNIE on Tuesday. Out of 2,13,252 hectares of cultivable land, Kharif crops were being grown in 1,74,807 hectares or almost 82 per cent of the total.
As per the official information, NSP officials have opened 22 spillway gates through which the floodwater was being released downstream, due to heavy inflows from the Srisailam project. While the NSP’s full reservoir level was 590 feet, the current water level there stood at 589.70 feet. Inflows and outflows from it were calculated at 4 lakh cusecs and 2.9 lakh cusecs, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Nagarjuna Sagar Project’s storage capacity was 310.25 tmc. As such, NSP officials released 9,900 cusecs of water through its right canal to the Buggavaagu reservoir on Monday. While the Addanki main canal got 1,200 cusecs, 1,450 cusecs were released to the Darsi branch canal, 300 cusecs to the Pamidipadu branch canal and 560 cusecs to the Ongole branch canal.
Prakasam district Joint Director- Agriculture PV Srirama Murthy, while commenting on the issue, said: “Though we did not have many drops of rain this year, our farmers have utilised maximum rainwater. Till now, the sowing activity during this Kharif season has been 82 per cent of the normal seasonal average. We are targeting 100 per cent.”