VIJAYAWADA: The surplus amount of Krishna water released into the sea from the Prakasam Barrage has increased over the past three water years. In the first three months of the current water year (June 1 to May 31), 496.6 TMC of surplus water was released downstream into the sea from the barrage.
A total of 501.4 TMC was released into the sea in the water year 2021-22 and 1,278.1 TMC in 2020-21, which was highest in the last two decades, and 797.1 TMC in 2019-20.
However, the surplus water released into the sea from Prakasam Barrage for the previous five years before 2019-20 was below 100 TMC. Irrigation experts attributed the rise in the release of surplus water into the sea for the last three consecutive years to the increased rainfall and water levels in various projects on River Krishna upstream.
With such a huge amount of water going to waste into the sea, the demand for the construction of more barrages on the river has gained momentum. In fact, this demand has been there for several years in the Krishna delta.
Now, the Irrigation Department has prepared detailed project reports (DPRs) for three barrages — two downstream of Prakasam Barrage and one upstream with a total holding capacity of 20 TMC. Now, the three projects with an estimated cost of Rs 7,500 crore are awaiting administrative sanction.
Water Resources Department Vijayawada Circle Superintending Engineer S Tirumala Rao said one barrage with a holding capacity of 10 TMC with an estimated cost of Rs 2,500 crore has been proposed at Damuluru in Ibrahimpatnam mandal of NTR district and two more barrages with a holding capacity of 5 TMC each at Chodavaram in Penamaluru mandal and at Bandikollalanka in Mopidevi of Krishna district. The estimated cost of the two projects is Rs 5,000 crore.
“We have already sent the revised estimates for the three barrages to the State government. Once the approval is given, tenders will be finalised. It will take 2 to 5 years to complete the construction of barrages,” Tirumala Rao said.
Advantages of the barrage upstream of Prakasam Barrage is that it will ensure water for lift irrigation projects (minor) being operated under the purview of Irrigation Development Corporation (IDC) in NTR district.
The two barrages downstream of Prakasam Barrage will help recharge groundwater, provide drinking and irrigation water to several mandals in Krishna and Bapatla districts.
Most importantly, they will help address ecological balance and sea water intrusion (saline incursion). The tourism potential of the areas will also go up, once the three barrages are completed.