HYDERABAD: With Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announcing allocation of Rs 10,000 crore for the Upper Krishna Project phase-3 (UKP-3) on March 6, the officials of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are worried over non-release of waters from Almatti Dam in the near future.
The Karnataka government set a deadline of completing the UKP-3 in three years. The UKP-3 includes increasing the height of Almatti Dam up to 524.26 metres, canal works and also relief and rehabilitation works.
However, top officials in Irrigation Department told Express that the Karnataka has already raised the Almatti height up to 524 metres. The Brijesh Kumar Tribunal allowed Karnataka to raise the Almatti dam height up to 524.26 metres. However, the Supreme Court issued stay orders. That is why, the Karnataka opened the spillway and releasing water from 519 metres.
"They installed the gates at 524.26 metres. Due to court case, they cut the plates and releasing water from 519 metres. Once, the Supreme Court upholds the Tribunal order, immediately they will erect the plates and store water up to 524 metres," an official said.
As the Yediyurappa’s government is under pressure from the Opposition, it may expedite the UKP-3 works. "Once the works are completed and more water is stored in Almatti, then the flow of Krishna waters to AP and Telangana will be reduced by 100 tmcft in every season," an official said.
In such a situation, there will be a huge shortage in Krishna waters in future for Telugu speaking States. The Karnataka will release water to lower riparian states only after all the projects in Karnataka are filled up. Thus, the AP and TS will get water to Srisailam only after September.
In this backdrop, the irrigation experts are suggesting two options. The AP and TS should fight for "sharing of deficiency" formula. It means, when Karnataka receives 100 tmcft water, the same should be distributed among all the beneficiary States on pro rata basis. This will give relief to AP and TS during dry spells. "Sharing of deficiency" is in Scheme-B of the Bachawat Tribunal, which the combined AP opposed and opted Scheme-A.
The second option is that the AP and TS have to divert the Godavari waters to Krishna basin and utilise them. Both AP and TS are already on the job of preparing the plans for diversion of Godavari waters. Otherwise, the TS’ major irrigation project in Krishna basin — Palamuru-Rangareddy may not get sufficient waters.