Despite having allotted water, the 60-year-old canal cannot draw to its fullest capacity
After a long wait of more than a decade, the tail-end ponds of the Tungabhadra High-Level Main Canal (HLC) received water thanks to sufficient rain and good water inflows from Tungabhadra Dam, but it turned out to be only a short-lived joy as the 60-year-old canal system is crumbling due to lack of maintenance.
Water reached Tadimarri West and East Tanks, Medimakulapalli, and will be released to M. Agraharam tank from tomorrow.
“This year we have already received 1.52 tmcft KC Canal diversion quota from the Tungabhadra and have written to the board to release another 2 tmcft,” said HLC Superintendent Engineer Nayakanti Rajasekhar. The district has another 8 tmcft of the regular quota of water to be received out of the 25.52 tmcft.
Farmers would suffer in the end due to lack of water as the district, which despite having been allotted 10 tmcft under the KC Canal Diversion quota from the Tungabhadra, cannot draw water to its fullest capacity due to lack of proper maintenance of the canal system. The modernisation works have stopped and the tenders have been pre-closed. As per government norms, these tenders cannot be reopened for 5 years.
“If immediate modernisation or essential repairs are not taken up, a day will when the entire supply of water through HLC would be stopped,” opined CPI(M) State Committee member Obul Konda Reddy.
Sluice gates in bad shape
Things have come to such a pass that if more than 2,000 cusecs of water is received through the HLC from the entry point at Andhra Pradesh, against a possible 4,000 cusecs, the canal could breach at many places. The structures at Mopidi need immediate repair and the sluice gates of the Kannekal tank inlet and outlet are in such a bad shape that they cannot be operated and water flow cannot be regulated there.
Currently, the capacity of the Link Canal from the HLC Main Canal to the PABR is only 800 cusecs and that needs to be immediately widened to 2,000 cusecs to evacuate water while it is available. Storage capacity at MPR Dam and the PABR is currently close to 5 tmcft each and beyond that water needs to be let out into the river and no power generation can be done.
A geo-membrane needs to be applied on the interior side of the PABR to make use of the entire storage capacity of a little over 10 tmcft.
If emergency repair works and restoration of damaged portions in the HLC system is not taken up in the next two seasons, Anantapur might again go dry soon.