HYDERABAD/NALGONDA: For the first time in a decade, all 26 crest gates of the Nagarjuna Sagar Project (NSP) were lifted on Monday, with a deluge of water reaching the reservoir from Srisailam.
The swirling floodwaters are rushing downstream of the Krishna and are likely to reach the Pulichintala balancing reservoir early on Tuesday. On Monday evening, the storage at Pulichintala was 7.94 tmcft as against its gross storage capacity of 45.77 tmcft. The water level was 135.31 ft as against the full reservoir level (FRL) of 175 ft.
After the Pulichintala reservoir fills up, the water would reach the Prakasam barrage in Vijayawada, which is the last on the Krishna, and after which, the river joins the Bay of Bengal. The combined discharge from all gates of the NSP was 3,67,580 cusecs on Monday evening.
The water level at the NSP was being maintained at 567 ft as against the FRL of 590 ft. The last time all the crest gates were lifted was in 2009 when the Krishna experienced an unprecedented flood.
First time in 10 years, all gates between Almatti, Jurala opened
On Monday, for the first time since 2009, all gates of all the reservoirs across the Krishna, from Almatti to NSP, were opened. With heavy inflows continuing into the Almatti and Jurala projects, the water is being allowed downstream. The inflows into the projects will continue, as heavy rain has been predicted for the next five days in the catchment area.
“We have decided to open the gates of the Pulichintala, following heavy releases from the Nagarjuna Sagar,” an irrigation official of Andhra Pradesh told Express over the phone. “The outflows from the NSP are about five lakh cusecs per day, and Pulichilnala will be full. The flood is heavy and that is why we decided to open the gates of Pulichintala after midnight on Monday,” official sources said.
The authorities are getting ready to impound 45 tmcft water in Pulichintala now, and concerns of villages being submerged have already been addressed, the sources explained. Meanwhile, inflows to the Jurala Project have touched a record high of 8.34 lakh cusecs since 2009. Accordingly, inflows to Srisailam were 8,19,254 cusecs on Monday evening. The outflows from Nagarjuna Sagar were 3,67,580 cusecs, and are expected to increase further. With this, the Pulichintala too would be filled to the brim for the first time.
It may be recalled that the inflows to Jurala on July 30 were just 10,000 cusecs. Now, they have gone up to 8 lakh cusecs. During the 2009 floods, the inflows to Jurala were 10.2 lakh cusecs.Hydel power generation is in full swing at Jurala, Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar, and is set to begin at Pulichintala too. Telangana generated 18.75 million units of power at Srisailam left, and 16.9 million units at Nagarjuna Sagar on Sunday.
An advisory from the Central Water Commission (CWC) stated on Monday that due to heavy rains in the last 14-to-15 days upstream of the Krishna and Bhima basin, along with a heavy rainfall warning for the next five days, inflows are expected to be high.
Due to very heavy releases of 8 lakh cusecs from Jurala and 2 lakh cusecs from the Sunkesula barrage, very heavy inflows are expected further at Srisailam. Due to the release of 2.8 lakh cusecs from the Nagarjuna Sagar, heavy inflows are expected at the Pulichintala project. The outflows from Nagarjuna Sagar are set to increase in the next couple of days.