With enough storage, Andhra Pradesh is in a position to tide over the summer situation but water transportation efficiency remains an area of concern
The summer temperatures are set to soar in the coming days and with it, the requirement of water for irrigation and drinking purposes. Fortunately, the State is comfortably positioned as far as the availability of water is concerned while the problems in making optimum utilisation of it persist for known reasons.
As on Saturday, the 108 reservoirs in the State, including the major ones, have 545.95 tmcft of water stored in them, which is 55.58% of their total capacity. The storage in the medium reservoirs went up appreciably from 38.57 tmcft last year to 60.64 whereas the storage in the major reservoirs increased from 414.48 tmcft to 485.25. Their aggregate gross storage capacity at full reservoir levels is 980.73 tmcft.
The Nagarjuna Sagar, Srisailam, Somasila and Kandaleru reservoirs have the maximum storage levels for their capacities and the others too have substantial quantities of water in them.
While the storage in the reservoirs of all sizes is satisfactory, constant efforts are being made to prevent the losses in the transportation of water to the areas where it is needed most i.e the tail-end areas in the agriculture sector and the habitations which always have a scarcity of drinking water.
Augmenting storage capacities
The potential of the two big rivers that pass through the State, the Godavari and the Krishna, is being tapped to the possible extent by augmenting the storage capacities of the reservoirs on them and building new ones subject to the budget and other constraints.
The current focus is on the inter-basin transfer of waters in the Godavari, Krishna and Penna rivers, whose course measures 1,465 km, 1,400 and nearly 600 km respectively. Stress is laid upon using the water available in the Vamsadhara, Nagavali, Gundlakamma, Kundu, Chitravathi and Papagni rivers, whose length is more than 200 km each.
A. Varaprasada Rao, Director of the Groundwater and Water Audit Department, tells The Hindu, “The efficiency in the transportation of water in India is far less compared to that of the developed countries as it involves huge investments for strengthening the massive network of canals to prevent natural wastage. Still, the government of A.P. has been doing well by constantly monitoring the river systems and taking the necessary steps to prevent losses. Up to 60% of the water is utilised in developed countries but India lags behind due to various constraints.”
Andhra Pradesh achieved a reasonable progress over the years. The situation has improved from ‘tape to telemetry’ and from ‘public wells to piezometers’ and real-time data is now available due to the adoption of technologies.
While making use of the surface waters, attention is paid to tapping the groundwater whose levels increased by up to 10 metres across the State. All districts in the Rayalaseema region recorded an increase in the groundwater levels in the last couple of years largely due to copious rains.
Greater importance has been attached to studying the water-bearing properties in different soils and various rock formations and the recharge of aquifers. A lot of activities were taken up under the National Hydrology Project.