VIJAYAWADA: Are the areas under Nagarjuna Sagar Right Canal in Guntur and Prakasam district heading towards drinking water crisis? It seems so, if low water levels in Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam projects are any indication. Further, depletion of groundwater levels in both the district is also a cause of concern.
By September first week last year, the authorities were able to provide 10 tmcft of water for drinking purpose to Guntur and Prakasam district, but today, not a drop of water is being released downstream into NSP Right Canal from Nagarjuna Sagar project. It was in May, the water for the drinking water purpose was released from NSP, after a bitter struggle with Telangana over small quantum of water. Since then, no water has been released for drinking water purpose, leave alone for irrigation purpose.
“It is a crisis like situation. It has been more than four months and several tanks in the village under NSP Right Canal in both Guntur and Prakasam are near empty and some have got dried up. We represented this to the Krishna River Management Board during their latest sitting in Vijayawada. They assured to write a letter to the Centre,” said Guntupalli Veera Bhujanga Rayalu, projection committee chairman of Nagarjunasagar Jawahar (Right) Canal.
In Guntur and Prakasam, farmers under NSP Right Canal ayacut are a depressed lot. They are finding even cultivation of dry irrigation crops increasing high risk, this year. “Even a dry irrigation crop needs water to sustain and the supply needs to be in spells. This year also monsoon had failed and depending on the rain is ruled out. Now there is no water in either NSP or in Srisailam,” said Y Nagendranath, AP Farmers Federation leader.
In Nagarjunasagar, the water levels are 115.31 tmcft when compared to the 136.165 tmcft last year and in Srisailam, the same is 25.26 tmcft when compared to 151.48 tmcft last year. Groundwater levels in Guntur stands at 5.83 metre, with a fall of 0.94 m compared to last year. In Prakasam, the groundwater levels stand at 16.77 m, 1.11 m deeper when compared to last year.
Farmers under NSP Right Canal ayacut go for late kharif crops in September. Under the Right Canal auacut, 5 lakh acres is being irrigated and around 800 water tanks are being supplied water in the both districts to serve to drinking water needs.