VIJAYAWADA: Do you know the cost of power to be incurred to operate the 24 pumps at Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme for releasing water into the Polavaram Right Main Canal at the discharge rate of 8,500 cusecs, so as to make the water to join Krishna? It is a whopping Rs 1.53 cr a day!
And that is not all. When the unit wise consumption is taken into consideration the PLIS consumes 2.712 million units a day, which is nearly half the daily power consumption of the entire Vijayawada City, including its industrial units, which stands at 5.5 million units a day. In other words, for operating the PLIS at full steam for two days it will require as much power as it needs to operate the entire city of Vijayawada a day.
One may wonder as to how these calculations have been arrived at? The total power needed for operating 24 VT pumps each of 350 cusec discharge capacity with 24 synchronous motors of 4.7 megawatts capacity each require a whooping 113 mw. When one megawatt is converted into units of consumption, it equals to 0.024 million units. A simple multiplication puts the total consumption (113x0.024 mu) at 2.712 mu. The unit cost of the power for lift-irrigation purpose is Rs 5.64. That is, the total cost of power consumption a day for the project stands at Rs 1.53 cr.
The Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme has been designed to release water at the discharge rate of 8,500 cusecs. The government intends to divert 80 TMC of Godavari water through the PLIS to Krishna. It takes release of water at the discharge rate of 11,575 cusec for 24 hours to get 1 tmcft volume of water. Experts say even if the project continues to work 24x7, it will take about 90-95 days to pump out 80 tmcft of water.
Even if we take the minimum amount required for the project to pump the total 80 tmcft of water, the cost of power consumed will come to 90 days x 1.53 cr, that is Rs 137.7 cr. This is only the cost of power and if the costs incurred on other heads like maintenance, etc., are taken into consideration, the total cost incurred for the diversion of the water from Godavari to Krishna will be much more.
However, irrigation experts say there is no scope for bringing 80 tmcft to Prakasam Barrage on Krishna river in a continuous manner as the barrage’s holding capacity is not more than 2.5 tmcft. Further, it has to take care of the release of water from upstream. They say even if the water is released at the full capacity of the canal system into the entire Krishna delta, the latter may not be able to take the same as it has been built to stand to the discharge rate of only 18,000 cusecs -- that is 1.5 tmcft at the max. “Anything more than that has to go into the sea,” said an irrigation expert, not wishing to be named.
So, the conclusion arrived at by the experts is that bringing the intended 80 tmcft of water through the PLIS in the minimum possible time is not possible and that the days of operation of the project may be longer. Hence, the cost incurred on the power and other heads too may go up.