KADAPA: Flash flood with a large volume of water beyond the discharging capacity of Annamayya project on Cheyyeru in a very short span of time was the only reason for the breach of its earthen bund, asserted the project executive engineer N Ravikiran.
Speaking to TNIE, he said the project received an inflow of 3.20 lakh cusecs against its outflow capacity of 2.17 lakh cusecs. “Even if the defunct gate of the project was operational, the outcome would have been the same,” he opined.
The project which became operational on January 4, 2001, has five radial gates, each measuring 13.75 x 14 metres. On October 30, 2003, one of the five gates broke when the water level in the project increased to 201.750 metres and it was washed away. A new gate was set up in its place and other four gates of the project were strengthened.
During Cyclone Nivar in November 2020, the fifth gate of the project developed a snag as one of its cables snapped. “We could only close the gate, but could not lift it. The other four gates are functioning normally. In November, the project was full to the brim, providing drinking and irrigation water to Rajampet and Nandalur mandals,” he said.
Project structure intact, only earthen bund breached: EE
The project needs to be emptied to undertake repairs of the defunct gate, which would deny irrigation and drinking water to the two Kadapa mandals for a few months.
“As part of discussions about the method to be adopted to repair the project gate, we proposed to do underwater repairs. A draft proposal worth `4 crore was readied and it was being scrutinised, when heavy rains lashed the region leading to the unprecedented flash flood on November 19,” he explained.
Ravikiran clarified that the project structure was intact and only the earthen bund breached due to immense pressure generated by the flash flood. No one expected such a flash flood in Cheyyeru, which used to get floods once in 4-5 years.
Last year, the project received copious inflows following heavy rains in its upper catchment areas under the impact of Cyclone Nivar, he said.
When asked about how much time it takes to repair the earthen bund and the defunct gate of the project to store water, he said it would be difficult to give the exact time frame.
“An action plan needs to be evolved by an expert committee after inspecting the project. Storage of water in the Annamayya project is next to impossible for the next few months,” the EE added.