Hyderabad: Though Water Board officials claim that drinking water supplies to the one crore residents of the capital will be “comfortable”, it all depends on inflows into the Krishna and Godavari projects from where the city’s needs are met.
However, the water levels are low at both the sources, raising serious concerns. For example, the Manjeera Barrage and the Singur Dam in Medak district, which are supposed to supply 45 and 75 million gallons a day (MGD) respectively, are facing an acute shortage compared to last year. The Manjeera Barrage is almost dry with just 0.3 TMC ft storage left. The normal requirement for the city’s drinking water needs is around 320 to 340 MGD drawn from five sources. Water Board officials claim that they can continue to supply the same even in the coming months with a hope that rains will improve the storage levels.
Even if there are no rains in the rest of July and in August, Water Board officials say that they will “still manage” with contingency plans, however, with reduced supplies. “We don't visualise a situation as it was during N.T. Rama Rao’s regime when Krishna waters from Vijayawada was transported by railway tankers to the city or the Nagarjuna Sagar levels touching an all time low of 504 ft as it happened in 2005,” said the Board’s executive director M. Satyanarayana.
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is the principle supplier of drinking water to city in three phases, each with 90 MGD. The second stage of the third phase (45 MGD) is yet to be pressed into service, but presently officials are drawing 225 MGD. However, the dam level is presently at 512 ft, just two feet above the Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) of 510 ft. But officials have a buffer and they can go up to 504 ft.
Presently water from NS Dam is not being utilised for any other purpose except for the city’s needs. But the mighty reservoir has no independent catchment except to depend on the upstream Srisailam Dam, which is already below the dead storage level.
Srisailam on Friday was at 801 ft, against 834 ft last year, which is also the MDDL level. This means that Srisailam should first get inflows and only then will NS Dam receive it. “If we have to use the remaining water till the end of August, there will be no problem, but if rains don’t fill up the storage, it will be a critical situation, where we will be forced to lift the dead storage water to the pumping mains,” added the Official. Officials have also chalked out a contingency plan for the Osman Sagar (Gandipet) water source, which normally supplies 5 MGD along with NS Dam Waters. Osman Sagar’s level on Friday was 1757 ft with 0.06 TMC ft storage against 1771 ft and 0.8 TMC ft last year.
Himayat Sagar, which supplies 15 MGD, is at a comfortable position to meet the demands till August 15. The contingency plan is again to tag the distribution system of Himayat Sagar with NS Dam supplies. Singur Dam in Medak, which supplies 75 MGD for the city’s drinking needs, is presently struggling with a storage of 3. 9 TMC ft, against 13. 5 TMC ft last year.
Manjeera Barrage and Singur Dam are both dependent on in flows from Manjeera River, which has recorded nil inflows this season. The contingency plan to meet the demands from Singur and Manjeera is the new Godavari Drinking Water Scheme which is still in its final stages.
In the new Godavari scheme, waters will be drawn from Yellampally Reservoir near Manchiryal in Adilabad district and pipelines have ben laid for 186 km to reach the two main balancing reservoirs near Shamirpet and Kukatpally.
“The balance works for this new scheme will take at least three more months, incase Singur and Manjeera fails we can augment supplies through the Godavari scheme which is designed to supply 172 MGD, which is a big boost to the city’s water needs,” said the executive director.
However like Srisailam for NS Dam, it is the upstream Sriram Sagar project for Yellampalli. The Sriram Sagar project has not received any inflows in the season so far. It has reached the dead storage level with a storage of 11 TMC ft against 24.60 TMC ft last year.
“Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar are declared non-dependable sources for the city, but if we able to get 5 TMC ft in Manjeera river I think there will be no problem, we are confident about inflows into Yellampally and Nagarjuna Sagar,” a Board official said.
Water Board works with additional staff
Water supply to the twin cities has remained uninterrupted though two major unions of the board are on strike since June 6. The board has deployed 199 additional workers to oversee maintenance works. However, complaints are not attended.
Water Board MD G. Rameshwar Rao said that water supply was being managed with employees who are not on strike. He said about 20 per cent of the staff, mainly dealing with sewerage, were on strike. “Water supply will continue. The strike has not hit water supply. We will ensure supply to our 8.25 lakh customers,” Mr Rao said.
Water supply in places like Ghode-Ki-Kabar, Mangalhat, Ziaguda, Aliabad, Boggulakunta, Red Hills and Gunfoundry, New MLA Quarters (Adarshnagar) and Secretariat were delayed on Thursday as 1,600 linemen joined the strike.