ONGOLE: Abundant water available at Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir has allowed the Ongole Municipal Corporation (OMC) to fill storage tanks in and around the city. Two stainless steel (SS) tanks, belonging to the Corporation, began receiving water from August 22, and were likely to be filled to the brim by September 12. Once they attain maximum capacity, the city was expected not to run out of water for the next six months.
The authorities also decided to supply water to households once in two days, starting from Sunday, instead of once in four days. Meanwhile, arrangements were made to release water for irrigation from the day.
Sufficient rains in the upper catchment areas of River Krishna had prompted the State government to release water to downstream areas. Around 11 lakh acres of cultivable land in Guntur and Prakasam districts fall under Nagarjuna Sagar right canal ayacut. Prakasam has a share of around 4.42 lakh acres, of which 1.86 lakh acres are suitable for paddy cultivation and the rest for dry crops.
The district’s yearly requirement of irrigation water is 42 tmc. However, it was allotted 52 tmc of the 132 tmc water released from Nagarjuna Sagar project. Also, as much as 20 per cent of water is wasted when it is carried through canal system. In the last five years, water from the project’s right canal was not released.
Speaking to Express, Nagarjuna Sagar Project Executive Engineer (EE) B Venkata Swamy said, “Around 132 tmc of water was allocated for Guntur and Prakasam districts. For proper utilisation, the water resources department will impose ‘Vaarabandi’ (weekly schedule of water release) system from October.
However, we are strictly monitoring the situation at the canal. We will also deploy additional staff along the length of the canal, to restrict illegal water usage.”