HYDERABAD: Telangana appears to have decided that it will continue to pursue the theory that the Polavaram project on River Godavari, and the project’s backwaters, are the prime culprits that led to the recent floods in the temple town of Bhadrachalam, where in 99 villages were flooded.
In a letter to the Polavaram Project Authority, the engineer-in-chief of the Telangana irrigation department, C. Muralidhar, said there was a need for a fresh backwater study to ascertain the extent of area in Telangana that gets affected “due to the backwater effect upstream of the Polavaram project.”
He said while the water depth at Bhadrachalam was more than 28 feet round the year, it will rise to 43 metres if the Polavaram dam reaches its full reservoir level. The first warning level at Bhadrachalam is at 45.73 metres, followed by the second and third at 47.14 and 48.77 metres respectively.
Muralidhar said that various studies that factored in different magnitudes of flood have shown that water level could reach 58.32 metres at Bhadrachalam, and 64.29 metres at Dummugudem. If this became an eventuality, then flood waters would submerge nearly 185 sq km of land and affect around 1.2 lakh people in 166 villages.
The recent floods showed that on July 9 the water level at Bhadrachalam reached 54.35 metres and 99 villages in six mandals were affected, he said.
If the Polavaram project is completed and water is stored at its full reservoir level, then recurring floods of Bhadrachalam will become a phenomenon as floods are common in the river.
Muralidhar said Telangana is examining various adverse impacts of the Polavaram project backwaters and wants a comprehensive backwater study by an independent competent agency....