Hyderabad: Union water resources minister Uma Bharathi has ordered a fresh study to determine the quantum of surplus water available in River Godavari, on an objection by the TS government.
Irrigation advisor R. Vidyasagar Rao on Sunday told DC that this was done after TS raised objections over a National Water Development Agency (NWDA) study on arriving at surplus water figures in the Godavari, based on parameters set 25 years ago and without taking into account the irrigation schemes that had come up after that.
According to Mr Vidyasagar Rao, when he raised the objection in the recently-held review meeting on the interlinking of rivers project by Ms Bharathi in Delhi, she agreed with the TS government’s point of view and ordered the NWDA to take up a fresh study with latest information.
“The issue of quantifying the surplus water in the Godavari could be accurate provided the NWDA considers the major lift irrigation schemes taken up in the basin states over and above 120 meters in height. The second thing is what was decided by the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal by distributing the waters among the riparian states should not be excluded from the surplus. Flow of surplus water in a river should be measured over and above the distributed quantum of dependable flow but not the unutilised dependable water that flows downstream,” Mr Vidyasagar Rao said in the meeting.
Ms Bharathi, who was very particular on implementing the interlinking of rivers project, instructed NWDA officials to rework on quantifying the surplus so that the Centre can push through the much-delayed project.
“She said that the TS argument was meaningful and correct because whatever unutilised dependable water that is already apportioned among states cannot be put in surplus category,” Vidyasagar Rao said.
He said NWDA has estimated 520 tmc ft in Godavari and 230 tmc ft in Mahanadi as available surplus that could be used in deficit areas in Krishna, Kaveri and Penna basins in Southern Peninsular region. He said that the Centre has come forward to construct Itchampally Project on the Godavari as a place to construct a dam for diverting as much as 520 tmc ft of water to other basins.
The Union minister told the meeting that it was the Centre’s responsibility to convince the Chhattisgarh government that has been opposing the Itchampally project for the last three decades citing massive submersion of forest land in its territory.
' I said in the meeting that unless a new study is done by NWDA taking into account the recent project constructions and its utilisation, surplus water theory cannot be established and this cannot form part of net surplus,” Mr Vidyasagar Rao said....