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Water: Allocations same, usage may change

B Dasarath Reddy  |  Hyderabad 

The formation of Telangana on June 2 would make no difference to the allocation of water that both Telangana and residual Andhra were getting as part of a united Andhra Pradesh.

Neither would Telangana be allocated more water, nor would residual Andhra lose any allocations already made by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal I and II to the two regions prior to the division. This is because the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act seeks to protect the allocation of waters made to various projects, existing and new ones, in the two regions. And, the water utilisation under inter-state projects like Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam reservoir and those being constructed would also be monitored by the two separate river monitoring boards set up by the government of India.

The change, if any, would be in the manner in which the water was being utilised under the existing projects, according to irrigation department officials. For instance, there was a provision to cultivate paddy as a second crop under the Nagarjuna Sagar project command area but was ignored for all these years. Now, with the division, these protocols would be revived for better utilisation of available water on both sides, according to them.

Also, Telangana is expected to become a foodgrain-deficit state, since paddy, staple food in both the regions, is grown more in residual Andhra.

The irrigation department was in the process of preparing guidelines for water utilisation under each project and, accordingly, the two states would have to draw water depending on availability and time of season.

The irrigation infrastructure in Andhra Pradesh was built on the two major river systems cutting across the Telangana and coastal Andhra regions - the Godavari and the Krishna. Andhra Pradesh has an allocation of 811 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of assured water and 227.5 TMC of surplus water in the Krishna basin and 1,486.16 TMC of water in the Godavari basin.

The issue of river water utilisation was a major source of emotional capital that drove the Telangana movement, separate statehood movement in the Telangana region.

Krishna water was again shared among the three regions at the rate of 410.84 TMC for coastal Andhra, 251.7 TMC for Rayalaseema and 375.96 TMC for Telangana. Utilisation of 912.251 TMC of water for Telangana and 509.546 TMC of water for coastal Andhra was proposed in the Godavari basin since around 80 per cent of the river catchment in Andhra Pradesh falls in the Telangana region, according to government statistics.

The issue of river water utilisation was a major source of emotional capital that drove the separate statehood movement in the Telangana region. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi had maintained that Krishna waters were taken to irrigate more areas in Seemandhra while ignoring the projects proposed in the Telangana region

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First Published: Mon, June 02 2014. 00:39 IST