HYDERABAD: Almost 37 years after the construction of Narayanpur dam and 14 years after the construction of Almatti dam, the gates of Srisailam were lifted as early as on August 9 for the first time. Four crest gates of Srisailam were lifted by up to 10 feet, at 5 pm on Friday. From each gate, a discharge of 25,000 cusecs was allowed to Nagarjuna Sagar Project (NSP).
“Srisailam gates were never opened as early as on August 9. Normally, the gates used to be lifted in the last week of August or at times even in October. After the construction of Narayanpur and Almatti projects, the Krishna never received huge quantities of water in August. But this year, the gates have been lifted very early,” an official explained.
This time, however, with incessant rains at the catchment area where Krishna originates from, Karnataka had no other option but to release water downstream. “If the rains were not continuous, and instead had a gap of one or two weeks, then Karnataka might have diverted all the water to other projects. As the rains are heavy and non-stop, the State had no option but to release water to Jurala, in order to ensure the safety of Almatti,” an engineering official explained.
Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister Anil Kumar Yadav performed the puja and lifted the gates on Friday. Though the officials in Andhra had planned to open the gates on Saturday, the date was advanced following heavy inflows. “We have to open the gates and let the water out in order to ensure the safety of Srisailam,” an engineering official from AP said.
As against the total 885 feet of Srisailam, the dam level touched 880 feet by Friday afternoon, prompting officials to release water to Nagarjuna Sagar Project.