Water for the Godavari delta will be released from June 1; and for Krishna delta and Guntur Channel from June 10. (Representational Image/ PTI)
Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh plans early release of irrigation water across the state for the Kharif season. This is done for the first time in four decades, as storage levels in reservoirs are full.
Officials said this will benefit farmers in the cultivation of crops on 95,23,217 acres across the districts. Earlier, irrigation water used to be released in August after receiving water in dams. This year, a majority of the reservoirs have sufficient storages.
The government has announced the dates for releasing irrigation water in advance. Water for the Godavari delta will be released from June 1; and for Krishna delta and Guntur Channel from June 10.
A total of 480.08tmc-ft of water is available in the reservoirs, of which 425.16 tmc-ft is stored in major reservoirs, 53.8 tmc-ft in medium reservoirs and 1.12 tmc-ft in other reservoirs.
Officials said the levels of water in reservoirs in the past largely decreased during the summer season, causing delay in the release of water to farms. This year, the scenario changed due to floods and untimely rains. "We expecting more water into the reservoirs due to rains in other states in the coming days. So, the plan is to make good use of the availability of water in reservoirs.
Farmers recalled that in the 1980s, they used to get irrigation water released early or as per schedule but later the release caused delays.
The government would release irrigation water to ayacut farmers of Rayalaseema region under Gorakallu reservoir, Owk, Gandi and SRBC from June 30; to farmers of ayacut of Somasila, Gandikota, Chitravati, Brahamsagar projects from July 10; and to the Nagarjuna Sagar project from July 15.
The officials said farmers have been informed about the releasing of water in advance so that they can condition the seed-bed and do the land preparations. When the water is not released in a time-bound manner, the farmers depend on the rainfall or lift irrigation. This resulted in delay in the cultivation process by a few weeks and, as a result, delayed the harvesting and also the raising of the next crop for the Rabi season.
Farmers Naresh and Seetaramaiah recalled that they used to get irrigation water from July end or August. Normally crops were cultivated twice a year but now there is a chance for a third crop with the early release of irrigation water.
Minister for water resources Ambati Rambabu suggested that farmers make advance arrangements for Kharif. If the Kharif season starts early, the harvest will be ready by November, which is considered as the cyclone month. The farmers would also have the option of going for three crops. The minister said, earlier, the irrigation water would be released in August after the reservoirs were filled, but now farmers would get the water quite early.
State agriculture mission vice president Nagi Reddy said the state government announcing the release of water in advance is a good sign and the farmers should take advantage of this.