Hyderabad: With the Centre keen on rolling out the Dam Safety Act now that even Rajya Sabha has given its nod to the Bill, the upkeep and maintenance of major dams like Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar are back in focus.
Telangana State, which refused to provide its share of resources for the upkeep of joint projects like Srisailam may be statutorily bound once the Dam Safety Act takes-off. Water resources officials in Andhra Pradesh, who gave up key components of dams to KRMB, are keenly watching the developments in the neighbouring state.
The plunge pool at Srisailam dam is now a bigger cause of concern when it comes to dam safety. It requires at least Rs 1,000 crore to fix the problem, said Srisailam project chief engineer Muralinath Reddy. Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) that mitigates potential devastations due to dam failures suggested several measures to ensure safety of Srisailam dam.
Muralinath Reddy said that the DRIP panel of experts suggested construction of a new spillway downstream at the point where the river takes a ‘U’ shape. They also recommended ‘dam burst’ analysis by way of stimulation tests to record the effects of the dam when it bursts.
The DRIP panel was only offering ‘what if’ related questions instead of concretely recommending improvements, Reddy said.
“We are facing a peculiar problem. The Telangana government is generating power using water from the reservoir but it does not account. At Pothireddy Padu head regulator, every drop of water is being accounted for. Water usage is monitored by fixing metres there,” he said.
Reddy further said that recent cyclonic storms damaged crops in several districts.
“Unless we provide water to summer crops, it will be very difficult for farmers to sustain their operations. There is no reason for Telangana to tap Srisailam when power is available for just Rs three per unit. It will make economic sense if we can conserve water at Srisailam till March, when power rates could go up to Rs 12. This will also be a major boost for farmers,” he said.