Farmers upbeat as Somasila, Kandaleru get good inflows

Officials raise ₹338 crore maintenance demand for uninterrupted water supply to Chennai

Major reservoirs in Nellore district are fast getting filled, bringing cheers to the farmers fed by the Somasila and Kandaleru reservoirs.

Thanks to comfortable storage position, the irrigation authorities will not have any problem in meeting the water needs of the people of not only Nellore, Chittoor and Prakasam districts but also Chennai for the second year in a row.

As a result, the farmers in Nellore district have raised paddy in 43,845 hectares against the normal sown area of 45,437 during kharif, according to Agriculture Joint Director Anandalakshmi. “The crop condition is very good,” she says.

The storage in the reservoirs in the Penna basin was 192.26 tmcft on Friday against the full capacity of 261.58 tmcft.

With this, there is still a flood cushion of 69.33 tmcft, according to data compiled by the Irrigation Department.

Going by the present floods in the catchment areas of the Telugu Ganga project, the major reservoirs, Somasila and Kandaleru, can be expected to overflow later this month, according to the irrigation officials.

Somasila, the lifeline of Nellore district, now has a storage of 65.57 tmcft against the full capacity of 78 tmcft.

Kandaleru, which caters to the drinking water needs of cities, including Chennai, has a storage of 51.31 tmcft against the full capacity of 68 tmcft.

Somasila has been receiving a steady inflow of over 20,000 cusecs each day, thanks to the floods in the Krishna, the Penna and the Kundu.

The discharge from the reservoir is maintained at 9,944 cusecs.

“We are now able to meet the drinking water needs of various habitations, including Nellore, Kavali, Naidupeta, Venkatagiri, Srikalahasti and Tirupati, without any problem,” Telugu Ganga Project Chief Engineer K. Harinarayana Reddy told The Hindu.

Kandaleru had an inflow of 10,300 cusecs on Friday. The discharge from Kandaleru to Chennai is maintained at 1,500 cusecs per day. Irrigation officials have ensured release of 4.3 tmcft of water to Chennai so far.

The department has raised a demand for ₹338 crore from the Tamil Nadu Government for maintaining the irrigation network, including canals.

“We will stop water release to Chennai if the same is not met within a reasonable time,” Harinarayana Reddy said.

Though Chennai is entitled to 12 tmcft of water, for the first time in 25 years it realised 8.05 tmcft last year with Kandaleru receiving a maximum of 65.14 tmcft of water.

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