ANANTAPUR: The drought-prone Anantapur cannot take advantage of the water available in the Tungabhadra (TB) dam to irrigate large tracts of land due to the delay in the execution of Penna Ahobilam Balancing Reservoir (PABR) project stage-1 and II, and the related canal system.
The Tungabhadra Dam, the main source of water for Anantapur district, had received copious inflows during autumn thanks to the heavy rains in its upper catchment areas. As against its capacity of 100.855 TMC, it received 212 TMC of water, the highest after 1980, making it possible for distributing water as per Krishna Tribunal.
The High Level Canal of TB dam brings Tungabhadra water to Anantapur, which has an allocated share of 32.50 TMC. Through the KC Canal diversion, it could get 10 more TMC of water. The assured allocation for the district from Krishna and its tributaries 42.50 TMC. However, due to the lack of a proper canal system, the assured water allocations can not be utilised fully. The modernisation of Tungabhadra High Level Canal (TBHLC), which commenced in 2007, is yet to be completed and in 2019, it was completely stopped. Even if the capacity of the canal system is increased, there are no proper reservoirs ready to store the water.
The Penna Ahobilam Balancing Reservoir (PABR) is not fully complete and water cannot be stored to capacity. The capacity of the canal linking PABR and HLC is just 800 cusecs and further it is very weak. There is an urgent need for strengthening and modernising it on a par with the main canal of HLC. The district water resources department submitted multiple proposals with the latest being the proposals with an estimated Rs 70 crore. However, there has been no response till date.
It should be noted that PABR first phase works are still continuing. Water could not be impounded to capacity since several leakages were found. Though the project was designed to store 11 TMC, not even 5 TMC could be stored. To address the issue, a proposal for lining the canal with geo membrane was submitted, so that 10 TMC could be stored. However, there has been no progress, sources in the department said. Another hurdle the project has been facing to achieve its targeted capacity is incomplete land acquisition. Another 2,500 acres of land has to be acquired, which is pending for several years.
Works of the Yadki canal under PABR Stage -2 were stopped for unspecified reasons. Two reservoirs at Chagallu and Pendekallu under the project, though completed, could not get the water, as the Yadki canal is yet to be completed. On the other hand, works of distributors from these two reservoirs were also not completed, as a result, 53,000 acres of ayacut is denied irrigation water.
Though water from the TB dam is expected till February, lack of proper canal, storage and distributary system has denied the district a golden opportunity.
Govt clearance awaited
Water Resources Department SE Rajasekhar said proposals for canal modernisation, PABR geo membrane works are awaiting government clearance. “We will start work as soon as we get the clearance,” he said.